Qwerty

QWERTY keyboards are widely taught and utilized by computer users worldwide, serving as the cornerstone of touch typing technology that enables typists to type without looking at their keyboard.

Early typewriters featured alphabetical key layouts that were easy to learn but impractical when operating at high speeds without jamming. Christopher Latham Sholes designed a new keyboard layout in order to address this problem.

Qwerty Origins

The keyboard is one of the world’s most ubiquitous technologies, so it may come as a shock that its origins can be so mysterious. Our current keyboard was developed in Milwaukee publisher Christopher Sholes during the 1860s.  His invention of a typewriter quickly revolutionized publishing by making books and papers available to everyone, instead of just the wealthiest members of society.

Early typewriters featured keys arranged alphabetically.  However, when trying to type quickly, the typebars attached to letters would sometimes get stuck together, hindering efficient typing speeds. As such, Sholes designed his typewriter so that its keys wouldn’t collide against one another.  This design eventually came to be known as QWERTY, and became the standard in typewriting machines.

There are various theories as to why keyboard layout was designed this way. Some believe it is meant to slow down typing speed.  Others consider the design as a way to prevent the sticking as mentioned earlier.

No matter the reason, most people continue to utilize QWERTY today.  Indeed, most keyboards use this format. There are other alternatives like Dvorak keyboards which were developed in 1936 as fast and easier on fingers, but these have never become standard practices.

One reason is because Remington was the first commercially successful typewriter using QWERTY keyboard layout, leading many typists to learn it quickly and mastering it quickly, when other manufacturers entered the scene.  Using a key layout already successful in the market was the natural choice for competitors. Thus, QWERTY layout has come to dominate typewriter keyboard design.

Keys

Keyboards contain keys that enable typists to type letters, numbers, and symbols on computers and electronic devices. Furthermore, keyboards include shortcut keys for frequently performed tasks, which save time when using a QWERTY keyboard. 

Keys that create lower-case letters when pressed alone are located on the left side of a keyboard, while those that produce uppercase ones on the right. There are two SHIFT keys (usually Q and W), when held down simultaneously with letter keys produce upper-case characters.  A SPACE BAR at the bottom can create spaces when used alone or together with Shift keys.

There are numerous other keyboard layouts, but none has seen wide adoption or usage. They may be difficult for some individuals to learn as they require additional finger movements when typing common letters.  Additionally, such layouts may not be efficient when typing languages that use special characters or alphabets other than Latin-script.

Virtual keyboards for smartphones and tablets offer users a virtual QWERTY keyboard experience using software that emulates its layout and functionality, such as using arrow keys to move cursor to start/end of line, or delete keys that allow deleting one character at a time to the left of cursor.

Layout

QWERTY keyboards are ubiquitous across the world and come standard on most computer and mobile devices. While their layout offers reliable and efficient alternative to alphabetic keyboards, they do have some drawbacks; including hand fatigue, poor ergonomics and limited key selection.

Even with its disadvantages, QWERTY keyboard layout has persisted as the dominant technology for many years. Unfortunately, its wide availability has stifled innovation and stunted alternative layout development. Although such alternatives might provide improvements in typing efficiency or comfort, their transition period and learning curve may prove prohibitive to many users.

The QWERTY layout features six rows of letters arranged alphabetically: Q, W, E, R, T and Y in ascending order. The top row features an abbreviated alphabet for faster typing.  On the left side are function keys F1 to F12 while the right side contains a number pad to facilitate numerical entry and perform other tasks requiring large amounts of numbers, such as data entry or spreadsheet creation.

Keyboards can be a source of potential contamination. On average, keyboards contain over 40 million bacteria species including many potentially harmful strains.  As such, it’s essential that keyboards be regularly cleaned in order to eliminate contaminants like these.  Additionally, some models come equipped with surfaces designed specifically to minimize build-up of grime.

Experts have discovered that although most people can type with two fingers, the QWERTY keyboard layout may not be as effective as advertised. According to them, its letter arrangement discourages proper finger positioning, leading to bad habits and poor posture.

Speed

QWERTY was initially designed to slow down typing by preventing keys from being depressed simultaneously.  For instance, if you press S and E simultaneously they could become confused (S with Z, E with C etc). But humans being adaptable creatures have found ways around this ‘obstacleist’ layout and now type faster than ever.

Some have proposed that switching to the Dvorak keyboard instead of QWERTY may actually accelerate typing because it has been tailored specifically for English. Other alternative layouts like DVORAK and Colemak have also been created but have failed to take off.

One possible cause may be adapting to the new keyboard layout.  But others have suggested there are aspects of QWERTY which don’t make sense, such as key placement and its placement at the top of the keyboard!

Qwerty qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm

Qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm (pronounced Kwertyuiopoasdfghjklzxcvbnm) is the series of letters typed into Google when you’re bored out of your mind and searching Google. While this term has been around for some time, recently its use has increased exponentially,to the extent where some have even created T-shirts with its name!

This concept is simply using all the letters of the qwerty keyboard, left to right, top to bottom until all letters are typed.

The idea is to find some special discovery based on a unique keyword.  However, the only actual meaning is still tied to our traditional use of the qwerty keyboard.

Dvorak Keyboard

Dvorak is a type of keyboard layout created in the 1920s and 30s that aims to speed up typing by placing keys closer together, thus minimizing movement needed for reaching them with standard QWERTY keyboards. Furthermore, this layout was specifically created for touch typing (using muscle memory instead of hunt-and-peck methods) as it is supported by all major operating systems when used on physical keyboard devices labeled with QWERTY keys.

The Dvorak layout places vowels directly under the fingers of the left hand for easy access with alternating strokes, as well as moving some other letters, punctuation symbols included, away from their home rows so they can be reached using alternate fingers on either hand. Furthermore, this layout rearranges its top row so numbers may be typed using alternate strokes from index and pinky fingers on both hands.

Dvorak also boasts the advantage of placing 70% of keystrokes on its home row compared to 32% for QWERTY, making it much simpler and faster to use while being less likely to cause repetitive strain injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Dvorak is not perfect. While its learning curve may be steeper than QWERTY’s, and may take time for users who have previously typed on an alphabet keyboard to regain speed when switching over. Furthermore, editing documents or creating documents using Dvorak layout may take more time, and may make finding programs supporting it harder than expected.

Colmak Keyboard

Colemak isn’t installed by default on any operating system, but can be downloaded and installed manually on Windows, Mac and Linux. Once downloaded and installed manually, Colemak can be enabled through keyboard settings.  It should be noted that remapping keys could lead to compatibility issues with certain games and apps.

Colemak layout has gained widespread favor due to its speed.  In some cases, users can type 35 times more words using Colemak than QWERTY due to concentrating the most used letters into a home row and thus minimizing finger movement. Furthermore, Colemak repositions arrow keys so that they are more readily accessible by index fingers, and moves backspace away from an uncomfortable pinky stretch where your thumb can more easily reach it.

Another advantage of this layout is that it can be learned quickly, even by experienced touch typists. Since it combines the best aspects of both QWERTY and Dvorak keyboard layouts, learning it should be straightforward.  This is primarily because its most commonly used letters are located nearby each other, making their placement easier to remember.

Colemak offers some advantages over Dvorak when it comes to finger movement but falls just short of being among the top 100 typists in terms of typing efficiency. However, it can still be used by anyone typing at over 80 WPM.  Oonce that threshold has been crossed, it all comes down to practice!

Colemak can be intimidating at first, but there are numerous resources to help you learn it quickly and smoothly. You can download its layout file online and follow tutorials that teach its fundamentals. Additionally, there’s also the Colemak forum where other users share their experiences using this layout. Though initially it might feel cumbersome and time consuming compared to QWERTY keyboards, it will surely pay off if you are willing to practice and be patient.

Ergonomic Keyboard

Your standard keyboard in either your office or home was likely not designed with you in mind, meaning your hands and wrists often find themselves held in unnatural positions for extended periods, straining tendons and nerves in your wrists and forearms and leading to discomfort or even pain.

An ergonomic keyboard is a type of computer keyboard specifically designed to reduce hand and wrist discomfort as well as other health problems, like Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and carpal tunnel syndrome. A curved ergonomic keyboard can allow users to naturally position their hands for comfort; as a result, injury rates will decrease, typing posture will improve, speed will increase exponentially while productivity will skyrocket on your computer!

Ergonomic keyboards come in a range of designs and sizes. Some feature fixed slopes while others come with adjustable ones to ensure you find the ideal position for your wrists. You may also opt for models equipped with built-in palm rests that provide additional support while typing.

Connectivity should also be taken into consideration when choosing an ergonomic keyboard, since it should work seamlessly with both your computer and other peripherals. Many ergonomic keyboards come equipped with both USB and Bluetooth wireless connections so that you can choose which option best fits into your setup.

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