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10. 29. 2007

Is the world ready to give up Qwerty keyboards?

new-keyboard.jpg

Have you ever stopped to wonder if Qwerty keyboards really make any sense? I hadn't until just now, and yet, whenever I was confronted with a non-Qwerty keyboard, I become personally offended, as if the very core of my being as a person with excellent typing skills was under challenge and being ridiculed. And my initial response to an alternative keybaord was: So what if Qwerty makes no sense? The English language itself makes no sense (for instance, why is "read" the past tense of "read", only pronounced differently, and is anyone trying to change that?).

Yet, despite my right index finger's long-ingrained wiring that connects it to the letters h, j, y and u, now that the idea has hit a nerve in me, I feel that I must try this new keyboard, the New Standard Ergonomic Keyboard. What's the innovation? The keyboard follows the order of the alphabet rather than the non-sensical, but now deeply entrenched, placement of the letters starting with ones that spell out the word "typewriter" at the top row (thanks to ZDNet UK for pointing out this fact hidden in plain view). Unlike learning on a Qwerty keyboard, those coming to the New Standard Keyboard for the first time can easily remember the placement of the letters by simply singing the alphabet song.

There are other benefits to this new keyboard setup aside from the order of letters:

- Columns have been arranged to align with natural finger movements
- Shift keys are designed and placed for use with dominant digits
- Hands can remain in home row because all keys are within easy reach

The keyboard comes in a professional model (black and white) and a not so professional "rainbow model." Both are $59.98 on the company's website (the rainbow model is also available on Amazon)

I know I'm in for a lot of confusion, considering every smartphone I've ever used or am likely to use has a Qwerty keyboard. But keeping my brain on its toes may help to stave off early senility.

Posted by Hoyun    Category: devices
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Comments (3)

ohnonichole:

I though the point of the querty keyboard was that lesser used letters are pushed outwards and the most commonly-used are right in front for ease. Someone apparently spent a lot of time figuring out the system, and considering it only took a quarter of a school year to figure out and practice for most of us, they can't have done too badly, right?

James O:

Hello,

Actually, the QWERTY keyboard was designed to slow you down (seriously). Back in the "old days" mechanical typewriters would jam if the strikers from two different keys hit each other. So, the QWERTY keyboard was created to try to alleviate the jamming problem caused by fast typists. Even some older computers (like my Apple IIe) would get confused if you typed certain keys too quickly (phantom letters would get injected)

You were probably thinking of the Dvorak layout, which is an alternative layout that was meant to boost the speed of the typing by placing the most commonly used letters on or nearest to the home row.

--James

jon:

Actually QWERTY was designed specifically to slow down typists so that typewriters wouldn't jam. If you're looking for efficiency check out the Dvorak layout

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