Computers & Tech

Colemak vs Dvorak – So Hard To Make A Decision

I’ve been experimenting on these two layouts for some time now.

The main reason I’ve been doing this is because I’m a huge fan of life hacks & progress. To be honest, just ‘cuz something is the standard, it does not mean that it is the best.

Perhaps a brief overview is in order as some who see this may not even be aware of what I’m on about. QWERTY remains the current standard on keyboards due to the fact that it was invented with the typewriter. The main reason for its invention was to help the mechanics of the typewriter function without a problem. This of course, meant that typing was purposely made inefficient for the sake of progress. There are numerous articles and more about this is easily available on the web. I cannot say that I completely agree with it, but everything is subjective if you ask me.

In the 1930s, a scientist called August Dvorak, invented a new kind of typewriter keyboard that aimed to remove the strains, aches faced by typists at that time and improve the speed & accuracy. The result was the Dvorak layout, but the claims met with a whole load of opposition. QWERTY still won the vote due to the amount of people that were already using it. The Dvorak layout achieves a good deal of comfort. Most of the common letters in used in the language lie on the home row. Dvorak also achieves more hand alteration. More on the Dvorak layout can be found at (http://www.dvzine.org/zine/index.html) The main reason for it not becoming a norm is the amount of time a QWERTY typist needs to adjust to it. Plus the added fact that most of the tests conducted did really show a significant reason to change. Today, the Dvorak is a standard alternative layout available on any Operating system. Those who want to use it can easily make the switch.

Invented in 2006, Colemak (colemak.com) is a fascinating layout which tries to keep the same values and principles as the Dvorak layout, but has a layout much closer to QWERTY. Again more available on (http://colemak.com/wiki/index.php?title=FAQ#What_is_Colemak.3F)

That aside, I’m having trouble choosing the layout for me. Colemak makes the normal keyboard shortcuts more easier. With Dvorak, I loose the shortcuts, but I feel typing more easier. I’ve been using the Colemak layout for some time and for some reason, I’m just not getting the placement of the letters. I know where the letters are. My fingers know where the letters are. Why is this so hard?

What I liked about Dvorak was that I was able to learn the layout very easily. Perhaps that hand alteration helps. I was not a touch-typist prior and just used my own “hunt & peck” method. With Dvorak, since the main shortcut keys are moved more to the right on Dvorak, I’ve tried to use the left hand mouse. This is easy since I am also left-handed.

I want to make Colemak work, but I’m just struggling so much. I cannot give up and say that I was defeated by a keyboard layout. That would be silly. 😛

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5 replies »

  1. I’ve been using Dvorak since 2002. I’ve recently decided to give Colemak a try. I got up to 30 wpm. I really appreciate Dvorak now. With Colemak, my hands felt strained. When typing letters on the same hand, you end up contorting it in anticipation of the upcoming letters. You might not notice it coming from QWERTY but I sure did. Dvorak feels more natural. I also noticed that it’s easier to make errors in Colemak6484

    • Yes… I noticed this as well… This is why I switched back to QWERTY after using Colemak for around 2 – 3 years. I was not making much progress with it; much to the dismay of the guys on the Colemak forum. They were encouraging me to continue with it. But in truth. I was actually regretting it. Colemak is infinitely better than QWERTY, but other than the usage of the shortcuts, I fail to see how it is better than Dvorak.

      After about 3 years with QWERTY, I still feel it a challenge to type a single sentence with out making a single mistake. As a result I am considering to switch to the best layout my fingers felt so comfortable on – Dvorak.

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