“Unbelievable as it may now sound, that keyboard layout [QWERTY] was designed in 1873 as a
feat of anti-engineering.Â It employs a whole series of perverse tricks designed to force typists to type as slowly as possible, such as scattering the commonest letters over all keyboard rows and concentrating them on the left side (where right-handed people have to use
their weaker hand).Â The reason behind all of those seemingly counterproductive features is that the typewriters of 1873 jammed if adjacent keys were struck in quick succession, so that manufacturers had to slow down typists.Â When improvement in typewriters eliminated the problem of jamming, trials in 1932 with an efficiently laid-out keyboard showed that it would let us double our typing speed and reduce our typing effort by 95 percent. But QWERTY keyboards were solidly entrenched by then. The vested interests of hundreds of millions of QWERTY typists, typing teachers, typewriter and computer salespeople, and manufacturers have crushed all moves toward keyboard efficiency for over 60 years.”
on 16 December 2005 at 18:36
At one time, you could buy Dvorak computer keyboards, which arranged the keys in the (supposedly) most efficient layout. I have not seen them advertised in ages, however.
on 16 December 2005 at 19:49
Of such absurdities are our worlds constructed. Of course the French decided to use the AZERTY layout, which is actually no better at all for typing French, but makes the point that at least it is NOT ENGLISH, which is the main thing for the Anglophobe French. “Ordinateur Individuelle” forsooth!
Sweetie(s) given ???
on 03 January 2006 at 18:54
Ha! I remember hearing something like that once. In my world, I have typed so much that I’ve rubbed all the letters off the keyboard of my iBook G4 since I got it in February 2004, so I no longer can tell where the letters actually are… I have to rely on the memory in my fingertips. One day I’ll get around to fixing it but for now it looks kind of cool to have a computer with a mostly blank keyboard!
on 09 January 2006 at 10:24