Did you know there are different types of keyboards, not just the QWERTY keyboard? Although the majority of English-language keyboards are QWERTY keyboards, other options have been considered. However, none of the alternatives have managed to replace the QWERTY keyboard, which was invented in the late 1800s. Until significant tests show that an alternate keyboard provides outstanding results, the QWERTY keyboard will likely continue to dominate.
Christopher Sholes invented the typewriter in 1868, originally with two rows of letters. He spent the next several years trying to set up a keyboard arrangement that minimized the occurrence of type bar jams-when two keys were pressed at the same time or too closely together. The QWERTY keyboard arrangement allowed typists to go quickly and consistently without too many jams. However, many people feel that the QWERTY keyboard has faults, including placing common letters at the weaker fingers and requiring more left-hand (weaker hand) motions to create the most common words.
Dvorak Simplified Keyboard
In 1932, a professor at Washington State University sought to create a more efficient keyboard. August Dvorak arranged the letters on his computer keyboard according to the frequency of use. For example, all the vowels appeared on the main row, as well as the more common consonants. The idea with the Dvorak keyboard was that the typist's fingers would not have to leave the home row as much. However, multiple tests failed to prove the Dvorak keyboard's superiority over the QWERTY. However, it is the most viable alternative to the QWERTY, and many operating systems do have options for different keyboard layouts.
A modern alternative to the QWERTY and the Dvorak keyboards, the Colemak seeks to make typing more efficient, by placing frequently used letters in line with the strongest fingers. Released in 2006, the Colemak was created by Shai Coleman with maximum efficiency in mind while typing. Manufacturers also claim that the Colemak system is easier for QWERTY computer keyboard users to master.
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