2013-05-31

the myth qwerty dvorak keyboard layout

there's a myth of myth about Dvorak layout being not much efficient than QWERTY.

it's strange. Typically, they are made by people who never touch type any of the alternate layouts, OR, from a new layout creator selling his layout.

It typically goes like this:

Contrary to popular belief, the QWERTY layout was not designed to slow the typist down, but rather to speed up typing by preventing jams.

—Wikipedia article on QWERTY as of at 〔QWERTY〕, citing from a passage on Maltron's website, which sells the Maltron layout. This: http://www.maltron.com/keyboard-info/technical-keyboard-information/academic-papers/236-lillian-malt-papers.html

Here's another one, from the famous design critic, Donald Norman. Quote:

Wrong. Crowley and Cohen perpetuate the false belief that qwerty was intended to slow typing. In fact, it is one of the fastest keyboards around. There's not enough space here to explain fully. But I have done experiments on and published a lot about this. Qwerty was designed to prevent jamming of keys back in the days when everything was mechanical a …

from 〔Is the QWERTY keyboard layout the most efficient one? Or are there better ones? By Don Norman. @ www.quora.com…

I hope i'm not taking it out of context.

Here's another, recent one, from the blog of the famed Smithsonian Institution.

While it can't be argued that deal with Remington helped popularize the QWERTY system, its development as a response to mechanical error, has been questioned by Kyoto University Researchers Koichi Yasuoka and Motoko Yasuoka. In a 2011 paper, the researchers tracked the evolution of the typewriter keyboard alongside a record of its early professional users. They conclude that the mechanics of the typewriter did not influence the keyboard design. Rather, the QWERTY system emerged as a result of how the first typewriters were being used. Early adopters and beta-testers included telegraph operators who needed to quickly transcribe messages. However, the operators found the alphabetical arrangement to be confusing and inefficient for translating morse code. The Kyoto paper suggests that the typewriter keyboard evolved over several years as a direct result of input provided by these telegraph operators. …

— from 〔Fact of Fiction? The Legend of the QWERTY Keyboard By Jimmy Stamp. @ blogs.smithsonianmag.com…local copy

Ok, they are now debunking that QWERTY wasn't even about preventing jams, but came from telegraph machines. But, here comes the damnation, out of the blue:

More recent research has debunked any claims that Dvorak is more efficient, …

On the phrase “recent research”, they linked to a slashdot news post: 〔Dvorak Layout Claimed Not Superior To QWERTY @ hardware.slashdot.org…

The Slashdot post regurgitates the granddaddy about Dvorak not being efficient than QWERTY: 〔Typing Errors: The standard typewriter keyboard is Exhibit A in the hottest new case against markets. But the evidence has been cooked By Stan Liebowitz & Stephen E Margolis. @ reason.com…

Now, comes the payload. The Smithsonian article introduces us a new layout, called KALQ layout. Quote:

KALQ keyboard layout
The KALQ keyboard layout (image: Outlasvirta et al.)

When a design depends on a previous innovation too entrenched in the cultural zeitgeist to change, it’s known as a path dependency. And this why the new KALQ proposal is so interesting. …

Is that a sponsored article? They didn't say.

The Myth of Myth of Dvorak

full article at http://xahlee.info/kbd/myth_of_qwerty_dvorak_layout.html