The Debate of Dvorak (Is Dvorak Better?)


What is Dvorak?

Dvorak is keyboard layout that was designed in the mid 1930s by Dr. August Dvorak. Humbly named after himself of course.

The Idea of the Dvorak keyboard was to create a smoother and faster typing experience by placing the most commonly used keys on the home row, then the next most commonly used letters on the top row, followed by letters like z that reside on the bottom row.

Dvorak keyboard

Why wasn’t this always the case?

The likelihood is that if you tilt your head down slightly you will see a QWERTY keyboard resting gracefully under your monitor. This is the standard for keyboards, but not for the reasons that you might imagine; the QWERTY keyboard was designed in the 1800s in order to stop typewriters from jamming up when being used by a fast typist. A common myth when it comes to the QWERTY layout is that it was designed in order slow the typist down on purpose BUT THIS ISNT TRUE!! It was instead designed to put keys that were used in sequence frequently further apart from each other.

The problem with the QWERTY layout is that little to no consideration was put into comfort or efficiency, this means that now we no longer use typewriters to word process we shouldn’t really still be using it. But why are we?

Is the Dvorak Keyboard better?

A very subjective question that one.

Although there is evidence to support improved typing speeds when using Dvorak, there is not enough evidence to make this claim conclusive. However I will go out on a limb and say that for pure typing experience, based completely on the fact that it was designed from the ground up in order to make the typing experience faster and easier Dvorak is better. Watch a Dvorak typist type and you will notice that their hands move less than a QWERTY typist. 

So id say…Yes defiantly better. For typing that is.

And now for the downsides.

Adopt Dvorak and the likelihood is that you will be the only person using it in your place of work and possibly your entire town, because nobody wants to move away from the standard do they? no matter of its inferiority. Its what they learned at school and have used for their whole lives, trying to tell them that they will gain a few words per minute wont impress them. You will be a fast, comfortable yet lonely typer, or just a hipster who doesn’t want their parents to use their keyboard.

Gamers will cry in the corner when they realise their WSAD keys are scattered around the keyboard like a Chip Shop around a midland town in the 40s! You can switch between the layouts… but I wouldn’t bother. The problem wouldn’t be so big if all games offered customisable key mapping, But alas… They don’t.

And the biggest problem is that you would struggle to even find a Dvorak keyboard, this means that you would have to set your operating system to convert your QWERTY keyboard to Dvorak, and this has obvious compatibility issues. Windows Phone. Not going to happen.

Is it for you?

If you already touch type on a QWERTY keyboard stop right there I cant recommend it. But. If you simply type on a QWERTY keyboard and your paragraphs are created at a snails pace and are riddled with with errors, yeah you could give it a go.

You have to be committed to learn Dvorak though, this is because when you start you will barely be able to type at all, and this wont change for quite some time.

PC Gamer? Its not worth it. All the issues and having to switch between layouts just make it too difficult.

So its up to you really, QWERTY and Dvorak trade blows in many areas and I suppose it comes to what you value, pure typing speed and comfort or compatibility and gaming.

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