20 votes

Dvorak, Colemak and other alternative keyboard layouts

I wouldn't really consider it a hobby, but couldn't think of where else to try and have this discussion.

How many of you have ever heard of, or even considered the idea of alternative keyboard layouts!? As unanimous as it is, why are the letters of the alphabet even placed that way on our keyboards anyway? Alternative keyboard layouts attempt to optimize the layout by placing letters in such a way as to make typing more ergonomic. Often ideas include focusing on the home row, rolling fingers, alternating hands, high frequency letters on index and middle etc.

Some examples to look into if you've never heard of the concept:

  • Dvorak, the most well known alternative keyboard layout. Prioritizes alternating hands by separating vowels and consonants by hand.

  • Colemak. As opposed to Dvorak, prioritizes rolling the fingers rather than alternating hands and attempts to limit same-finger bigrams.

  • BÉPO, a layout optimized for the French language!

  • Others include Carpalx, Workman, MTGAP, Norman and many, many more. Creating rather than using layouts has sort of become a hobby for some...

So what do you think? Supposed ergonomics vs standardization. Would you ever consider switching or do you think it's a bunch of hocus pocus? Perhaps you have switched or tried to switch and would like to share your experience.

58 comments

  1. [6]
    Silbern
    Link
    I tried to switch to Dvorak once; the biggest thing that held me back was the sloping of the keys. They were designed to be laid out in qwerty, so when I rearranged them, the sloping felt all...

    I tried to switch to Dvorak once; the biggest thing that held me back was the sloping of the keys. They were designed to be laid out in qwerty, so when I rearranged them, the sloping felt all wrong and inconsistent.... Something I never thought of or realized before then :P

    7 votes
    1. [5]
      jono
      Link Parent
      Ah yes, the pesty "profile" of keycaps, I'm sure many mechanical keyboard enthusiasts would feel your pain when trying to fill out an unusual layout. In fairness, most people do not recommend...

      Ah yes, the pesty "profile" of keycaps, I'm sure many mechanical keyboard enthusiasts would feel your pain when trying to fill out an unusual layout.

      In fairness, most people do not recommend changing the physical layout of the letters on your keyboard as it only works like a crutch. Having the letters not match up on your keyboard forces you not to stare at your keyboard as you type. If you must I recommend taping a piece of paper with the layout next to your monitor, that way you can be sure you're touch typing at all times.

      Good luck if you ever consider a different layout again!

      9 votes
      1. [3]
        pseudolobster
        Link Parent
        I can't emphasize this enough to people learning new layouts. DO NOT LOOK AT YOUR HANDS! There should be no reason to rearrange the keys if you aren't looking at your hands, so don't. When I...

        I can't emphasize this enough to people learning new layouts. DO NOT LOOK AT YOUR HANDS! There should be no reason to rearrange the keys if you aren't looking at your hands, so don't.

        When I learned dvorak I printed out a copy of the layout, folded it into a little tent, then placed that below my monitor.

        Thing is, these layouts are designed specifically for touch-typing. Dvorak makes no sense to hunt-and-peck, you need to lay your left hand over all the vowels, and your right hand over the most commonly used consonants in English. Learning dvorak will ideally break you of your bad typing habits, since it forces you to use the home row. If you look at your hands you're liable to start hunting and pecking. Don't do that. Learn where the keys are by feel, not by looking.

        6 votes
        1. [2]
          pfg
          Link Parent
          I would have to disagree with this, being able to see the keys you type lets you start using the layout faster. Just having the layout in front of you makes it much harder to start.

          I would have to disagree with this, being able to see the keys you type lets you start using the layout faster. Just having the layout in front of you makes it much harder to start.

          1 vote
          1. pseudolobster
            Link Parent
            From my experience, when people look at their hands they tend to use their index finger to press the key. In proper touch-typing, especially in dvorak, each key has a specific finger you're...

            From my experience, when people look at their hands they tend to use their index finger to press the key. In proper touch-typing, especially in dvorak, each key has a specific finger you're supposed to use. By forcing a disconnect between your vision and your typing, you learn purely through muscle memory. This is more difficult at first, but once you get the hang of it and start memorizing where things are by touch, the rest comes much easier, you'll attain and probably exceed your old typing speed faster than if you relied on looking at your hands.

            Another downside to this technique, which isn't really apparent at first but gets super annoying is, I only actually know the layout by touch, and only from the home row. So, I have a habit of moving my left hand to hit ctrl for hotkeys. This makes it really, really hard to figure out which key is which when you do have to look at your hands. So, Ctrl+X is where Ctrl+B is on qwerty, but I don't know it as "B", I just know it as left index finger down. Since I've moved my hand, I can't find the key without looking down, and I had to slowly memorize the qwerty equivalent of each key anyway. So that was a real problem.

            1 vote
      2. devlinium
        Link Parent
        There are several keycap profiles that are not sculpted and instead have a flat layout. They aren't as common as the usual sloped keys, but they're some of the most sought after. Having just...

        There are several keycap profiles that are not sculpted and instead have a flat layout. They aren't as common as the usual sloped keys, but they're some of the most sought after. Having just installed a set, I can say that they're a lot of fun to type on.

  2. [8]
    Parliament
    Link
    I don't use those alternative layouts, but my ergonomic keyboard is certainly different than most layouts. I love the additional keys at the thumbs.

    I don't use those alternative layouts, but my ergonomic keyboard is certainly different than most layouts. I love the additional keys at the thumbs.

    5 votes
    1. [7]
      jono
      Link Parent
      I absolutely love the Kinesis and plan to make a Dactyl one day which implements many of the features of the Kinesis. I currently use a keyboard that is similar in some regards, which pairs very...

      I absolutely love the Kinesis and plan to make a Dactyl one day which implements many of the features of the Kinesis. I currently use a keyboard that is similar in some regards, which pairs very nicely with the optimized layout.

      1 vote
      1. [6]
        Parliament
        Link Parent
        The Kinesis pretty much changed my life, as I have a carpal tunnel diagnosis. I own two so I don't have to lug one back and forth to work. Also bought two of the vertical mouses from them - been...

        The Kinesis pretty much changed my life, as I have a carpal tunnel diagnosis. I own two so I don't have to lug one back and forth to work. Also bought two of the vertical mouses from them - been using both the keyboard and mouse for going on 3 years now. The real nifty part about the Advantage Pro (for me at least) is that it comes with a foot switch I can use to toggle the number pad within the right side of the keyboard.

        1. [3]
          Prometheus720
          Link Parent
          Is there anything like the vertical mouse and the keyboard they sell but cheaper, from another vendor? I really can't afford that.

          Is there anything like the vertical mouse and the keyboard they sell but cheaper, from another vendor? I really can't afford that.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            Parliament
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I would check Amazon and the product reviews on there when you search for ergonomic mouse/keyboard. Even the Kinesis products sold through Amazon are cheaper when you buy there instead of directly...

            I would check Amazon and the product reviews on there when you search for ergonomic mouse/keyboard. Even the Kinesis products sold through Amazon are cheaper when you buy there instead of directly from Kinesis. Thankfully, my diagnosis was all I needed to get my employer to cover the cost because it's definitely steep.

            Oh also, I think you can buy refurbished versions of Kinesis (and other vendors') products, so make sure you research that before making a purchase. You might be able to shave off more of the cost.

        2. [2]
          bln
          Link Parent
          Which model did you get? The Evoluent or DXT? I've been looking and trying vertical-ish mice for a while but still haven't found a way to get rid of the pain completely.

          Also bought two of the vertical mouses from them

          Which model did you get? The Evoluent or DXT?

          I've been looking and trying vertical-ish mice for a while but still haven't found a way to get rid of the pain completely.

          1 vote
          1. Parliament
            Link Parent
            I have two of the wireless Evoluent models. I came to the sad realization about a year ago that I will never be completely pain free no matter how many ergonomic remedies I implement into my daily...

            I have two of the wireless Evoluent models.

            still haven't found a way to get rid of the pain completely.

            I came to the sad realization about a year ago that I will never be completely pain free no matter how many ergonomic remedies I implement into my daily life. Until smartphones have better ergonomic accommodations, there will always be some baseline amount of pain/discomfort because I can't do everything in front of a full keyboard and mouse. I have gone so far as to setup remote desktop from my work PC to my home laptop so I can type on the desktop imessage app and don't have to pick up my phone during the day.

  3. [9]
    jono
    Link
    Unsurprisingly (given I'm making this post), I personally have switched to a slightly modified Colemak layout. I switched basically cold turkey although there is a method, Tarmak, to help people...

    Unsurprisingly (given I'm making this post), I personally have switched to a slightly modified Colemak layout. I switched basically cold turkey although there is a method, Tarmak, to help people make the change by modifying letters incrementally. It took me about a month and a half to get back to my QWERTY speeds and have since surpassed them by about 20%, although speed was not my priority. I've been using Colemak since early May 2017. Feel free to AMA :)

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      Atvelonis
      Link Parent
      Interesting, that's a pretty decent speed increase! I might give an alternate layout a shot one of these days. I am a little worried about switching between computers, though; even if I get...

      Interesting, that's a pretty decent speed increase! I might give an alternate layout a shot one of these days. I am a little worried about switching between computers, though; even if I get Colemak on my desktop, I'm pretty sure I can't rearrange the keycaps on my laptop's keyboard (although I could be missing something obvious). If that's the case, I'm afraid it might end up being a little disorienting switching between the two.

      Also, just a thought, but it's possible that you may have been spending a little more time (perhaps subconsciously) typing with Colemak, as you adjusted to the new layout, than you were previously spending using QWERTY normally. Therefore, some of that 20% might be attributed to the amount of typing you were doing, not just the layout change. It's difficult to control for variables like this, so it's something to take into account.

      1. jono
        Link Parent
        Oh yeah, I'm quite certain it's partly due to me actually being interested in my layout and practicing it often. I did also change my actual physical keyboard layout during that time to a split...

        Oh yeah, I'm quite certain it's partly due to me actually being interested in my layout and practicing it often. I did also change my actual physical keyboard layout during that time to a split columnar-staggered layout similar to the ErgoDox. It also allows me to program each key myself, so if necessary I can use it at computers other than my own. However, switching via software is as easy as changing languages such as QWERTZ and AZERTY, though anything less common than Dvorak will need to be installed on Windows, and anything less common than Colemak on Linux and MacOS. Some people opt to instead make use of PKL.

        1 vote
    2. [3]
      Gabe_DeGrossi
      Link Parent
      How come you decided to switch to Colemak vs Dvorak? When switching, one of the key things for me was being able to type on other computers. With Dvorak, I can quickly switch any PC over from...

      How come you decided to switch to Colemak vs Dvorak? When switching, one of the key things for me was being able to type on other computers. With Dvorak, I can quickly switch any PC over from QWERTY, what do you do for Colemak?

      Also, do your hands feel more comfortable on Colemak? This has been my experience with Dvorak.

      1. [2]
        jono
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Simply because I aligned more closely with the mindset of the Colemak creator. Dvorak makes many strange choices that made me veer far away, though I admit Dvorak was my first attempt at switching...

        Simply because I aligned more closely with the mindset of the Colemak creator. Dvorak makes many strange choices that made me veer far away, though I admit Dvorak was my first attempt at switching which allowed me to find Colemak. That being said, even Colemak made choices that I don't necessarily agree with and have chosen to change resulting in the slightly modified version I use today.

        I use a completely programmable keyboard that I can program to my hearts content, and move between computers as I like.

        Without a doubt I found typing on Colemak miles better than QWERTY, otherwise I would not have committed to making the switch. Typing QWERTY now feels very awkward and unwieldy, though I can when necessary. I never suffered any problems with QWERTY but just have the type of personality that absolutely loves efficiency and strive to optimize pretty much everything in my life, leading me to find alternate keyboard layouts!

        2 votes
        1. SomeGuy
          Link Parent
          Is it one of those "gaming" keyboards or is it some specialised one? Wouldn't mind one myself.

          completely programmable keyboard

          Is it one of those "gaming" keyboards or is it some specialised one? Wouldn't mind one myself.

    3. [3]
      devlinium
      Link Parent
      Could you give us your typing speeds on QWERTY, while transitioning, and after fully transitioning?

      Could you give us your typing speeds on QWERTY, while transitioning, and after fully transitioning?

      1. [2]
        jono
        Link Parent
        QWERTY I generally typed at around 100 wpm. I reached 90 wpm on Colemak in 3 weeks at which point I stopped directly practicing daily. I now type at about 110-120, 130 on a good day.

        QWERTY I generally typed at around 100 wpm. I reached 90 wpm on Colemak in 3 weeks at which point I stopped directly practicing daily. I now type at about 110-120, 130 on a good day.

        1. Prometheus720
          Link Parent
          And of course, that's not considering any potential ergonomic/health benefits to your typing experience!

          And of course, that's not considering any potential ergonomic/health benefits to your typing experience!

  4. [9]
    Gabe_DeGrossi
    Link
    I switched to Dvorak about a year ago and I couldn't be happier! I didn't switch for speed (although I type faster now on Dvorak than QWERTY) but for comfort. I was getting some RSI issues at my...

    I switched to Dvorak about a year ago and I couldn't be happier! I didn't switch for speed (although I type faster now on Dvorak than QWERTY) but for comfort. I was getting some RSI issues at my internship (typing + mouse all day), so I switch to using the mouse to my left hand and my keyboard to Dvorak. Solved all my problems! My hands feel so much more comfortable, and typing feels far more normal than on QWERTY. I'd definitely recommend switching to an alternative layout.

    Here's a graph of my Dvorak progress from last year.

    2 votes
    1. [5]
      toratoratora
      Link Parent
      Just started the transition to Dvorak! Do you have any tips to ease the switch?

      Just started the transition to Dvorak! Do you have any tips to ease the switch?

      1 vote
      1. Gabe_DeGrossi
        Link Parent
        Definitely go cold turkey, only use Dvorak as your input method (don't worry about your phone, I still use QWERTY there) until you're close to your QWERTY typing speed. Also, don't look at your...

        Definitely go cold turkey, only use Dvorak as your input method (don't worry about your phone, I still use QWERTY there) until you're close to your QWERTY typing speed. Also, don't look at your keyboard, rather, print out a copy of the layout and put that in front of you.

        Enjoy using Dvorak!

        2 votes
      2. [3]
        jono
        Link Parent
        My one piece of advice before you go deep into Dvorak: consider browsing other layouts to see if you agree more with the ideals of other layout creators. I believe if you're gonna make the change,...

        My one piece of advice before you go deep into Dvorak: consider browsing other layouts to see if you agree more with the ideals of other layout creators. I believe if you're gonna make the change, you might as well go all out. Dvorak is generally considered very dated by most layout enthusiasts. It does have one very strong advantage: ubiquity. You can be confident if you have to use someone else's computer, you'll be able to change layouts within an at least reasonable time. If that is important to you then I absolutely would suggest Dvorak.

        Otherwise, some examples to start off your research include Carpalx, Colemak, MTGAP, Workman and Norman.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          Prometheus720
          Link Parent
          Yeah, for this reason I'm going to have to do Dvorak. Plus I have some previous experience with it.

          Yeah, for this reason I'm going to have to do Dvorak. Plus I have some previous experience with it.

          1. jono
            Link Parent
            Fantastic, good luck with your switch! Despite it being hell I actually thoroughly enjoyed those first few weeks.

            Fantastic, good luck with your switch! Despite it being hell I actually thoroughly enjoyed those first few weeks.

            1 vote
    2. [3]
      Noxium
      Link Parent
      What software did you use to track your WPM? I've recently started my internship as well and have been thinking about making the switch, I think tracking my speed would probably motivate me to...

      What software did you use to track your WPM? I've recently started my internship as well and have been thinking about making the switch, I think tracking my speed would probably motivate me to learn faster

      1. Gabe_DeGrossi
        Link Parent
        Yup, @jono got it right. I did a test on Typing Speed Test aoeu every day and then logged the results in Excel.

        Yup, @jono got it right. I did a test on Typing Speed Test aoeu every day and then logged the results in Excel.

        1 vote
      2. jono
        Link Parent
        keyhero is probably my favourite. 10fastfingers is quick and dirty and a bit of an ego boost as the words are so easy. keybr is well liked for ironing out any problem areas you might have...

        keyhero is probably my favourite. 10fastfingers is quick and dirty and a bit of an ego boost as the words are so easy. keybr is well liked for ironing out any problem areas you might have (particularly inconsistent speed with certain letters).

        The graph looks like an excel graph, so he probably recorded his WPM in excel.

  5. [3]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [2]
      jono
      Link Parent
      I still opt to use QWERTY on my phone as my understanding was always that Colemak is specifically optimized for rolls and such, which thumbs aren't able to take advantage of. If anything I...

      I still opt to use QWERTY on my phone as my understanding was always that Colemak is specifically optimized for rolls and such, which thumbs aren't able to take advantage of. If anything I imagined it would be a little more annoying on phones since the most common letters are closer together leading to more misclicks.

      I can imagine Dvorak being more suited to phones for an "alternating thumbs" feel, although it would be awful single handed!

      1 vote
      1. Prometheus720
        Link Parent
        I wonder if it would be possible to design a keyboard that would be qwerty when vertical and dvorak when horizontal. THAT sounds like something I'd like to see!

        I wonder if it would be possible to design a keyboard that would be qwerty when vertical and dvorak when horizontal. THAT sounds like something I'd like to see!

  6. dnaq
    Link
    I gave dvorak a try many years ago, but the biggest issue for me was all the times I had to use a computer that wasn’t my own. I got used to using Dvorak on my own computer, but the mental leap...

    I gave dvorak a try many years ago, but the biggest issue for me was all the times I had to use a computer that wasn’t my own. I got used to using Dvorak on my own computer, but the mental leap when using QWERTY keyboards made it too hard for me.

    1 vote
  7. [2]
    tan
    Link
    I switched to Dvorak a couple of years ago, but have actually never believed in the superiority of any layout for speed. I have improved my typing speed by switching, but I think that's just...

    I switched to Dvorak a couple of years ago, but have actually never believed in the superiority of any layout for speed. I have improved my typing speed by switching, but I think that's just because I have better typing habits than I did with QWERTY.

    1 vote
    1. jono
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Agreed, too many people get caught up in the mindset of switching for speed, or even argue against switching because it doesn't increase speed. I switched because I simply thought it was a more...

      Agreed, too many people get caught up in the mindset of switching for speed, or even argue against switching because it doesn't increase speed. I switched because I simply thought it was a more efficient layout, resulting in an ergonomic and thus enjoyable experience. The rolls of Colemak create a hard to describe experience that is genuinely pleasurable, like rolling your fingers on a desk.

      1 vote
  8. rkcr
    Link
    I spent a year using Dvorak and ended up going back to Qwerty for two reasons: After completely immersing myself in it, I found that I didn't type any faster than before. I already had a fairly...

    I spent a year using Dvorak and ended up going back to Qwerty for two reasons:

    1. After completely immersing myself in it, I found that I didn't type any faster than before. I already had a fairly fast typing speed (>120 WPM) and realized that the blocker to faster typing was in my head, not in my fingers - I just don't process the commands fast enough in my head to type any faster.

    2. I could not perform the mental gymnastics necessary to quickly switch between Dvorak and Qwerty, which meant I could no longer use every other keyboard in existence (since almost everyone else uses Qwerty).

    1 vote
  9. [2]
    ProofTechnique
    Link
    I use the Carpalx QGMLWBY layout. I used to use Colemak, then switched to Workman-Dead, and now I use QGMLWBY with a dead key with a Planck. I’ve been learning steno with Plover, too, so I have a...

    I use the Carpalx QGMLWBY layout. I used to use Colemak, then switched to Workman-Dead, and now I use QGMLWBY with a dead key with a Planck. I’ve been learning steno with Plover, too, so I have a setting on my keyboard to emulate a steno machine. It’s not really hard to switch, it’s just hard to find time to practice.

    1 vote
    1. jono
      Link Parent
      Awesome! As I have gotten deeper and deeper into knowing about different layouts, I definitely think Carpalx is a great layout for those that agree with the heuristics chosen to generate it. Steno...

      Awesome! As I have gotten deeper and deeper into knowing about different layouts, I definitely think Carpalx is a great layout for those that agree with the heuristics chosen to generate it. Steno is also mindbogglingly cool, though I at least admit to myself it's probably not worth the effort to learn as the benefits it provides won't exactly come in super handy with my use case of my computer. Good luck learning steno!

      1 vote
  10. [2]
    Prometheus720
    Link
    I have two questions about the alternate layouts: What about programming? Most syntaxes rely heavily on nonnumerical keys. How are those changed? What about gaming? Wouldn't it be a pain in the...

    I have two questions about the alternate layouts:

    1. What about programming? Most syntaxes rely heavily on nonnumerical keys. How are those changed?
    2. What about gaming? Wouldn't it be a pain in the ass to switch back and forth?
    1 vote
    1. jono
      Link Parent
      Many of the most common keyboard layouts don't effect punctuation beyond ;,./ however there are some layouts that try to optimize many common programming symbols such as []{}() etc. Programmers...

      Many of the most common keyboard layouts don't effect punctuation beyond ;,./ however there are some layouts that try to optimize many common programming symbols such as []{}() etc. Programmers Dvorak is one such example. MTGAP takes it steps further by putting letters like J on QWERTY +=.

      Short answer is yes, it can be a pain. Long answer is even before I learned QWERTY I was an ESDF guy anyway, so I had to change 50% of the existing keybinds already. With Colemak, with each new game I go into the controls and change everything. Games that don't allow changing control bindings I just press two buttons on my keyboard and it switches back and forth between QWERTY and Colemak instantly.

  11. wervenyt
    Link
    I've used Colemak in the past, and would like to continue doing so. However, I have a single significant hangup: I rely heavily on vi-like keybindings in programs, including vim. While hjkl don't...

    I've used Colemak in the past, and would like to continue doing so. However, I have a single significant hangup: I rely heavily on vi-like keybindings in programs, including vim.

    While hjkl don't necessarily need to be on the homerow, it's a good design choice. However, assigning character movement to the same area displaces a few other keys. That means that in order to retain homerow character motions, I would have to reassign a significant number of keybindings, which I remember by mnemonic association, so that would make me less efficient too.

    Has anyone figured out some form of solution to this other than "suck it up"?

    1 vote
  12. Vadsamoht
    Link
    I've considered switching layout a number of times and may eventually do it at some point but I've never found it worth the time investment and general hassle of having to mentally 'switch'...

    I've considered switching layout a number of times and may eventually do it at some point but I've never found it worth the time investment and general hassle of having to mentally 'switch' layouts when working on a device I don't own. I spend most of my day at a computer, but coding instead of writing text, which would prioritize different key frequencies and thus reduce the possible gains of a more optimal layout anyway.

  13. Sunward
    Link
    I tried to switch to Dvorak in my teens, about 20 years ago, when several people in my online friend group were also switching. I was not able to stick with it; I type so fast in QWERTY (I top out...

    I tried to switch to Dvorak in my teens, about 20 years ago, when several people in my online friend group were also switching. I was not able to stick with it; I type so fast in QWERTY (I top out at 150wpm) that it was just frustrating trying to learn Dvorak, and I've never had problems with carpal tunnel syndrome or other repetitive strain injuries (possibly due to my highly unorthodox typing style arising from exposure to computers before I even started school, let alone ever took a typing class) so it never seemed worth it.

    In a similar vein, I bought an Ergodox EZ to use at work because as a man who is broad-shouldered (and...broad in general), a split keyboard appealed so that I could keep my arms at a more natural distance apart when typing, but I've had almost as much trouble adjusting to it as I did adjusting to Dvorak.

  14. [3]
    GeneralUser
    Link
    Not sure if it counts, but I switched to a US keyboard layout a few months ago. I've been using a layout that doesn't lend itself all that well when it comes to characters commonly used while...

    Not sure if it counts, but I switched to a US keyboard layout a few months ago. I've been using a layout that doesn't lend itself all that well when it comes to characters commonly used while programming. While it took a while to get used to the US layout, it was well worth it from an ergonomic and efficiency POV. Still have to change back to my native language every now and then, but no big deal.

    1. [2]
      ClearlyAlive
      Link Parent
      Have you considered altering the US layout to better suit your language? I’ve altered my Dvorak layout by having e be able to make the è and é characters to make it easier to write French in it.

      Have you considered altering the US layout to better suit your language?

      I’ve altered my Dvorak layout by having e be able to make the è and é characters to make it easier to write French in it.

      1. GeneralUser
        Link Parent
        I have, but there are quite a few characters that I would need to shimmy in somewhere to make it usable in both languages. For now, it works well to keep them separate.

        I have, but there are quite a few characters that I would need to shimmy in somewhere to make it usable in both languages. For now, it works well to keep them separate.

  15. [3]
    CptDunningKrueger
    Link
    I like to program, unfortunately on a German qwertz things that are easy to reach on the English qwerty are all over the place: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QWERTZ...

    I like to program, unfortunately on a German qwertz things that are easy to reach on the English qwerty are all over the place:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QWERTZ

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QWERTY

    Most programming languages are designed so that used symbols are unusual enough that you don't regularly need them, but easy to reach on qwerty. Qwertz broke with most of that easy to reach stuff.

    So I would like to have a keyboard where { } [] ; : . \ / have individual keys that I don't need to press modifiers for and having them closer to the center would also be nice.

    So much so that I thought about making my own keyboard that has additional rows to it.

    1. jono
      Link Parent
      I program now and then and use a second layer on my keyboard to put these symbols on my home row. Makes it very easy to reach and is even more ergonomic. Not for everyone as some people can't wrap...

      I program now and then and use a second layer on my keyboard to put these symbols on my home row. Makes it very easy to reach and is even more ergonomic. Not for everyone as some people can't wrap their heads around switching layers, but works brilliantly for me.

    2. Prometheus720
      Link Parent
      I'm learning German and Qwertz fucks with my head. I occasionally switch when typing in German and it's just not difference enough.

      I'm learning German and Qwertz fucks with my head. I occasionally switch when typing in German and it's just not difference enough.

  16. blitz
    Link
    I switched to Dvorak about 10 years ago. I could never touch type on QWERTY, so it wasn't too much of a sacrifice to switch. I felt pretty comfortable with Dvorak pretty quickly and was able to...

    I switched to Dvorak about 10 years ago. I could never touch type on QWERTY, so it wasn't too much of a sacrifice to switch. I felt pretty comfortable with Dvorak pretty quickly and was able to touch type with only a couple weeks' practice.

    I have also switched to using an ErgoDox EZ keyboard which I've customized even further beyond Dvorak.

  17. [3]
    bln
    Link
    I've been using Bépo, the French Dvorak-style layout, since about 2009 I think. It's fine, but I'm thinking of changing because I write more in English than French, and it's not as adapted. I...

    I've been using Bépo, the French Dvorak-style layout, since about 2009 I think.

    It's fine, but I'm thinking of changing because I write more in English than French, and it's not as adapted. I can't find a good layout adapted to the languages I need, so I'm getting on developing my own.

    1. [2]
      jono
      Link Parent
      Good luck developing your own! I've been learning how to code over the last year and writing a program that generates an optimized layout based on a set of user inputted values has been a good...

      Good luck developing your own! I've been learning how to code over the last year and writing a program that generates an optimized layout based on a set of user inputted values has been a good learning experience for me. I tried in Python a long time ago and might try again in Rust now that I'm learning it.

      1. bln
        Link Parent
        Thanks! I've read a lot about other people developing their own program for that, so I've got some idea about how to go about it (in terms of the logic). But I need to learn more Python at the...

        Thanks! I've read a lot about other people developing their own program for that, so I've got some idea about how to go about it (in terms of the logic). But I need to learn more Python at the same time. That's a good occasion to learn it.

  18. Jedi
    Link
    I use Dvorak on my phone, but I can't find a keycap set (or a keyboard for that matter) online that looks any good.

    I use Dvorak on my phone, but I can't find a keycap set (or a keyboard for that matter) online that looks any good.

  19. dangersalad
    Link
    I went from QWERTY hunt'n'peck -> Colemak -> Workman and I have settled there. Learning Workman after Colemak was pretty easy, much easier than my transition to Colemak while also learning to...

    I went from QWERTY hunt'n'peck -> Colemak -> Workman and I have settled there. Learning Workman after Colemak was pretty easy, much easier than my transition to Colemak while also learning to touch type for the first time..

    It's been about 6 months since I started, so I still have more to improve on.

    In terms of improvement over QWERTY, I definitely feel better after a day of typing. I also learned to type "properly" and switched to an ortholinear layout at the same time though, so I am not sure how much those things also helped.

    This is from the point of view of a developer, so a regular typist may have differing opinions.

  20. taladar
    Link
    As someone relying heavily on keyboard shortcuts and vim key bindings in shell, editors and other programs I just never saw any benefit in it that made up for the massive pain of having to remap...

    As someone relying heavily on keyboard shortcuts and vim key bindings in shell, editors and other programs I just never saw any benefit in it that made up for the massive pain of having to remap those everywhere.

    That said, I do have a shortcut in my window manager to switch from QWERTY to the German QWERTZ for situations where I need to write German natural language texts that rely on characters that do not appear on the English keyboard.