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Today I faced a great and seemingly insurmountable challenge in my quest for happy, easy typing. In one of my classes, I faced a terrible horror: a QWERTY keyboard. On the bright side, I was able to evaluate whether or not it really was possible to be fluent in both Dvorak and QWERTY. On the even brighter side, it made me realise that I definitely made the right choice in switching over.

At first, typing on QWERTY after a week of uninterrupted typing on Dvorak was painful. My much-beloved cluster of common keys was suddenly not a cluster any more, and instead placed randomly across the keyboard. Rather than resting in one spot and sweeping left for the occasional “C” or “G”, my hand had to remain constantly on the move. My wrist bent and unbent at a frenetic pace, connecting the “H”s and the “E”s that were ridiculously at opposing ends of my keyboard. It was a huge frustration.

Initially, the layout of the keyboard was also a problem. It wasn’t that I’d forgotten the key positions, because I hadn’t; it was that it took a while for each memory to trigger. It was often just as fast to hunt down the key myself, resorting to the tried-and-true typing style of picking and choosing. It didn’t stay that way for long, though; after an hour of typing, I was more or less doing it right, and after an hour and a half it felt instinctive again. Still uncomfortable — I hated having to jerk my hand around so much — but instinctive. I don’t think the Dvorak guys were lying when they said it’s possible to be fluent in both.

As for my progress with Dvorak itself? I’m typing relatively speedily, considering that I was never really super fast in the first place1. I certainly know where all the keys are, and am not finding typing difficult at all. It just… could be a little faster? Oh, and if I stopped staring at the keyboard all the time out of habit, that would be nice too.

Overall, however, Dvorak is going well.

  1. I do however have the skill of typing noisily, which gives the illusion of being a fast typist without that actually necessarily being true.
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3 Comments

  1. Awesome! I was curious as to whether or not we’d hear about Drovak again. That is so interesting.

  2. Hmm, I always thought that QWERTY was designed with the most regularly used letters being the most accessible, but now I find that it was only thus so that typewriter keys would be less likely to jam.

    I’d never heard of Dvorak (well, the keyboard layout, I mean – love the composer) until your first post and I’m impressed that you are keeping up with it. I’m not adventurous enough to try it. Sacrificing some words from my typing speed is one reason, but all that cat hair under the keyboard? I prefer to leave it there…

  3. Caitlin: I’m glad!

    Naomi: The cat hair is actually one reason why I don’t want to switch back. Having swapped all the keys over, I’d have to swap them all over back again for QWERTY… and I don’t want to see the fur again. (I’d say the whole common key cluster thing is a more influential reason, though.)


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