So I’ve had a fair share of typing experience in Dvorak, I’ve learned to touch type and gotten to the point where I could type less than 20 wpm blindfolded. The experience of trying to learn an alternative layout like Dvorak had been fun though, but in the end I decided to revert back to QWERTY.
The major pros that made me try Dvorak in the first place were:
- Comfort – Makes maximum utilization of the home row, as the most frequently used alphabets in the English language are located in that region Which also means your fingers would flex less frequently compared to QWERTY. Comfort was one of the key factors that made me try Dvorak.
- Touch typing – Although I can touch type in qwerty, I thought learning to touch type in another layout would be a different experience altogether.
The cons of Dvorak that made me revert back to QWERTY:
- Utilization of both hands, especially the right hand. Since I’ve been using QWERTY layout from the beginning of time, it didn’t occur to me that QWERTY has a strong focus on left arm. Since I am left handed, it bothered me a lot when I had to regularly type using the right hand on Dvorak layout and I had sort of light wrist pain on the right hand.
- Slow progress – After a few days of moderate typing on Dvorak, I was not any better than 20 wpm. Which is quite slow in my opinion and it would mean I would have to invest a lot of time getting upto speed, and time is something I definitely don’t have at the moment.
- Usability – One of the major drawbacks of just about any alternative keyboard layout is that even though you use an alternate layout but on laptops your key caps are hard coded with qwerty layout, which you can’t change. This is quite distracting because visually you see one key and then you realize you’re not using qwerty layout, therefore you need to backtrack that specific key in your mind and figure it out which key it is on the keyboard (as if you are blind folded).
- Support – Most applications, especially Vim (which I use for coding) are optimised for QWERTY layout therefore I will need to forget all the muscle memory I previously had on Vim and relearn it to suit Dvorak.
Well the experience was definitely fun, it gave me a broader view of different features that are available to me in terms of keyboard layouts. As the saying goes, if the cons out weigh the pros, it’s not worth going for it and thus I’ve decided to revert back to QWERTY layout.
I’m not sure exactly why Dvorak’s layout failed to beat QWERTY, but it definitely is not for me that I’m sure of.