Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The result of the Dvorak experiment

It took me six months to get up to 45 wpm with Dvorak which was much slower than I expected.

The layout was better than QWERTY in some ways: the positioning of 't' and 'h' next to each other works well so I never once typed 'teh'. On the other hand, I missed being able to type 'were' and 'are' and 'here' so easily and I hated the strain of having 's' on my right little finger together with 'l' and the shift key for 'I'. Although Dvorak is meant to be better for RSI my finger got quite sore at times. Plus it's a nuisance faffing around changing the keyboard set-up for different users. So I decided that Dvorak is not right for me.

My QWERTY speed had dropped to 15 wpm but now, less than a fortnight later, I'm back up to 48 wpm.

I don't know if Dvorak is inherently hard to learn, or if I'm too wedded to QWERTY. Maybe it's because I get brain fog from my thyroid problem. I don't know.

I'm not sure if I regret the experiment or not. At least this way I won't wonder about it and now neither will you: I did the experiment so you don't need to. No need to thank me!

(For a completely different view of the attractions of Dvorak, see Holly Lisle.)

11 COMMENTS:

JaneyV said...

Honestly FH I don't think I could even contemplate trying to re-educate myself at the keyboard. I'm still rubbish at typing and when I see my kids going at it with phenomenal speeds I wonder where I've been going wrong!

Kudos to you for trying something new. I think that I have to get disciplined and master the QWERTY.

BBJD said...

I've never tried Dvorak, but you're experience has confirmed my suspicions. I doubt I'd like it - or stick with it.

It's kind of like those split keyboards. Some people love 'em, but I hate it that I can no longer reach over to the other side (I have long fingers).

Maybe if we'd learned to use Dvorak first we'd think differently?

Have a great day.

Bevie

Sarah Laurenson said...

If I had learned to type in the conventional manner rather than by the HP&C method (hunt, peck and cuss), then looking at a different keyboard might be an option. But I don't type like a 'real' typist and I know where the keys are on QWERTY. Mostly I type with the first two fingers of each hand. Occasionally another finger will hit a key, but not that often. I even hit the space bar with the second finger of my right hand.

Not sure what kind of keyboard would help a wacko typist like me.

Thanks for relating your experience.

Happy Holidays!

sylvia said...

Well, it must have been frustrated to have to backtrack and relearn but as you said, at least now you know. I've always wondered if I'd really love it if I stuck with it and you've helped to alleviate that fear. I might but as I'm not unhappy with QWERTY, it doesn't seem worth the time.

writtenwyrdd said...

Thirty-four years typing qwerty and I'm not going to switch. It would be taking the hacksaw to what little nerves I have left, lol.

Amazing you stuck it out so long!

Sophie in the Moonlight said...

Thank you for experiencing Dvorak so the rest of us don't have to. Your contribution to my time is immeasurable. It totally sounds like something I would try and then (as you so aptly proved) hate.

You are a dear. Welcome back to QWERTY, the system we all love to hate, but could never leave.

Merry Christmas!!

Timothy Hallinan said...

You are so brave. I would never, ever try that. I can't actually type anyway -- strictly two fingers plus thumbs for the space bar, but I'd be terrified that a few months on Dvorak might cost me what little speed and accuracy I have on QWERTY.

Anything that makes me conscious of the mechanics of getting the words down is terrifically irritating to me -- when they come, they come very quickly, and I go absolutely insane when I can't keep up with them.

So thank you for making the attempt for me. And it was a fascinating read.

Whirlochre said...

It's quicker than the trained budgie, slate & chisel combo, I suppose.

freddie said...

Everytime you post about DVORAK, I think of the composer. : )

Vlad Dolezal said...

I have switched to Dvorak about a year ago (can't remember exactly). It was quite fun at the very beginning, when I had no idea about the layout of the keys. I would have to hit about a dozen keys to find the right one. My chats went like this:

me: hi
friend: hey, wassup, how's it going?
(a minute passes)
me: typing slow
(another minute passes)
me: new keyboard layout

After about a month I got reasonably close back to my QWERTY speed.

As to the benefits of Dvorak - what I enjoy about Dvorak the most...
- is not the increased speed (although I DO type faster)
- is not the increased accuracy (although I DO make fewer typos)
- it's the increased COMFORT when typing (hard to explain, your fingers simply move less and it's more pleasurable to type)

(Oh, and obviously it makes me feel cool and different :p)

That being said, is Dvorak for you? I guess the switch probably isn't worth it for most people. Unless you type a LOT in english, or are experiencing pain from typing, or you REALLY want to be different :)

fairyhedgehog said...

I touch type, after my husband bought me Mavis Beacon many years ago, and I don't know if that made it harder or easier to try the switch.

I know that many people find that they are more comfortable with Dvorak but I really didn't. So I am one of the small number who try it and the even smaller number who give it a fair try and decide it's not for them.

At least now I can concentrate on what I'm saying, not on trying to get the words out.

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