For those of you who missed it, this is an explanation of how the Qwerty keyboard came into being. So what is the Dvorak keyboard? When I first heard the name, I assumed it was named the same way the Qwerty was: The top row of letters from left to right. Thankfully, I was wrong in this assumption. That would have defeated the entire purpose of the Dvorak keyboard, which is making it easier for the typist to type.
No, the Dvorak keyboard was named after its inventor, Dr. August Dvorak. Dvorak and his brother-in-law, William Dealey, decided to invent a keyboard that was more efficient and easier to learn than the standard Qwerty keyboard. After many studies, they came up with the Dvorak keyboard.
Many of the problems apparent with the Qwerty keyboard were fixed with the Dvorak keyboard: The most commonly used letters are now on the home row, including all five vowels and then D, H, T, N, S. Much more common letters than J, K, or F.
Want some fun statistics? A typist’s fingers on the Qwerty keyboard will average between 16 and 20 miles per day–a typists on the Dvorak keyboard will only average 1 mile per day. Still not a believer? I found a chart that compared the top 100 most common words in the English language, from “the” (the most common) to “know” (ranked #100.) Out of those 100 words, 13 were just as easy to type in either set-up, 11 were easier to type in Qwerty set-up, and a whopping 76 were easier to type in Dvorak set-up.
It’s these kinds of statistics that made me decide to change to Dvorak myself. Yes, I have used Dvorak, and in fact, I even bought a Dvorak keyboard. In my next blog, I want to talk about the changeover, and what to expect if you do it.