Qwerty, Dvorak, XPeRT keyboards

This is a comment on a very old topic, the Qwerty keyboard of 1878, which was designed to slow down typing and prevent mechanical keys from jamming in early typewriters. It is the same inefficient layout we are stuck with today.

In 1936 an improved Dvorak kayout was designed, but it didn’t catch on mainly because 24 letters moved and the barrier of a wholesale change was too high.

Opposite hand keystrokes are a dominant factor in typing speed and rate at 80% on Dvorak, vs only 50% on Qwerty, contrary to comments by Cecil on this subject. Check ouyt the details at www.XPeRTkeyboard.com, Concepts and Key Sequence Analysis pages, which give all the gory details and key sequence stats.

That brings us to the happy solution to the problem of a faster keyboard that is effortless to learn. The XPeRT keyboard enables hunt and peck typists to reach touch typing speeds of 40 wpm with no training. XPeRT has 83% opposite hand keystrokes, making it fast, but moves only 2 common letters, A+N, to achieve this? How is this possible? A 2nd E key helps (the most frequent letter at 13%. ) Design for ease of transition is “key”.

Check it out at www.XPERTkeyboard.com. Free trial downloads are available for the enthusiastic or skeptical reader.

Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Boards, caterpillar, glad to have you with us.

When you start a thread commenting on a column (especially an old column), it’s helpful if you provide a link to the column, so everyone will know what you’re talking about. In this case: Was the QWERTY keyboard purposely designed to slow typists?

Not a big deal, and you’ll know for next time.

I’ve used Dvorak primarily for the last five years, though I’m still fluent in QWERTY. What I like about Dvorak is that it’s more comfortable somehow than QWERTY. While alternating hands may play a role in this, I think that a large part of it is the home row dominated by common keys - AOEUIDHTNS. While it looks like your XPeRT layout is an improvement over QWERTY in this regard, with QSDFNHAELK, Dvorak is about as good as it can get.

Incidentally, the idea of a redundant E key strikes me a very innovative.

EE’s of use

I just read the above-mentioned article with great disappointment. The authors of the article are anti-Dvorak crusaders and their little article has done immeasurable damage to the acceptance of the Dvorak layout. This page refutes almost every point the authors make in their article:
Randy’s Response to the Anti-Dvorak Crusaders

BTW, I don’t use the Dvorak layout, though I’ve wanted to try it for years (just haven’t gotten around to it). My brother and some friends use it and swear by it (they’ve become KB bilingual and can use both QWERTY and Dvorak).

I guess there is little chance that Cecil will append his archived article, and that is a shame. More misinformation on the Internet! :frowning:

Well, the article by Liebowitz and Margolis is actually not about Dvorak at all; its real point is, “Whatever capitalism does is right, and therefore QWERTY is the best of all possible keyboards, despite what them thar pointy-headed intellekchuls with furrin names say.” I’m surprised Cecil was taken in by such a blatant piece of propagandizing. He must have mislaid his Captain Subtext Decoder Helmet.

Note that I have no brief one way or the other; I’ve never used a Dvorak keyboard; heck, for all I know, maybe it really is all hype. But I know bullshit when I see it, and that’s what the Liebowitz and Margolis article is.

Apologies to Dvork fans, for any misunderstanding - Dvorak is a well designed layout. As stated, Dvorak places 80% of keystrokes on opposite hands and is fast. Most frequent keys are on the home row, which reduces finger reach and strain. Great keyboard.

The point of the information was only this - some folks do not have the patience to learn Dvorak which moves 24 letters. The XPeRT keyboard presents an alternative, particularly for hunt and peck keyboard users (non-touch typists), who do not like to use small fingers for frequent letters (A+S on Dvorak).

So it is not a matter of what is best (for which there are many opinions) - but what suits an individual. Having alternatives to choose from is a good thing.

I used to type in Dvorak for about two years. I eventually switched back to QWERTY after a while because it was faster, but I am a student, so it means I have to use a lot of different computers and such and its just easier. I forgot Qwerty after I learned Dvorak, so I couldn’t just switch back. Sure it was somewhat faster, but I don’t really seem to mind anyway. If you can type at a speed where the keyboard becomes a limitation, it eventually itsn’t such a big deal. I could probably type about 40 percent faster, but a lot of the typing I do requires thought, so it isn’t really helpful in the end. Also I don’t feel like adding another keyboard map with German and Spanish already in there. I have a hard enough time remembering those.