• You are not logged in.

    Rolls vs hand alternation

    • Started by Sinma
    • 22 Replies:
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 21-Feb-2013
    • Posts: 7

    Hi,


    I'm French (please, don't hesitate to correct me if my English is wrong) and I'm using the Bépo layout, optimized for French with Dvorak method in mind. We're very happy with it, however we think we can do (much?) better. So we begin to think at what is important? What makes a layout "ergonomic"?

    After some discussions, somebody tells us that rolls (precisely, rollternance: doing 2 or 3 character with one hand and switch to the other) are better than hand alternation (it tells that it's very easy to make a mistake with too much hand alternation), then some others tell us the same things, which pick my curiosity. Some people over here (and beyond) seems to like rolls more than alternation.

    This question is essential cause it's about the core of the algorithm. The "v2" will not be ready soon, and we want to take our time to discuss and make the right (if any) decision. You can think we reinvent the wheel, but no, we're trying to make something much more close to the reality. Actually, I think we'll do a "real" simulation (evaluating corpus not stats, by simulating finger and hand movements: calculating distance, tiredness, and comfort).

    It seems there aren't scientific answer at the moment to determine if rolls or hand alternation are better (or equals?), and we want real people testimony. So my question is:
    "Do you like much rolls than alternation? Why? If you've tested Dvorak layout, do you learned Colemak (or other rolls-optimized-layout) more quickly? Is it less tiring for the fingers?


    Freely,


    P.-S.: we'll release our work under free as in free speech license, so it'll be possible to reuse our work!

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 1
    • From: Sofia, Bulgaria
    • Registered: 05-Mar-2011
    • Posts: 387

    That's a question that, I believe, is mostly dependent on preference. I don't think the one is generally better than the other.

    I've typed Dvorak for a couple of months before I switched to Colemak two years ago, so I've got some experience with it. I like the hand alternation, definitely. If I had to compare it to the Colemak's methods, which are, as you probably know, focusing more on comfortable finger rolls instead of hand alternation, I'd say it's easier to pickup and gain good accuracy on layout with more hand alternation. Having to do more rolls requires often to press more consecutive keys with the same hand, which requires better coordination of fingers, to prevent errors and feel comfortable. That's, of course, largely depends on how well the layout has been designed, because it seems more difficult to make a good layout relying on rolls than one, relying on hand alternation.

    Using Colemak (more rolls) feels "tighter" for beginners compared to Dvorak (more hand alternation), which initially flows better on longer texts – that is excluding other factors such as similarities to previously used layout (qwerty). After a while, though, when the muscle memory and typing technique has been trained and adjusted to the "tighter" typing, it doesn't feel more uncomfortable. Neither does the one cause more errors than the other. It's just that the rolls take a bit more time to get used to, but in the longer term, they're just as good.

    By the way, as I understood, you're a team/group of people, who want to start designing a new layout? Because you started with "I" and then continued with "we" so I got a bit confused :).

    PS: The opinion I've stated is purely subjective, based on my experience.

    Last edited by pafkata90 (21-Feb-2013 21:58:13)
    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 21-Feb-2013
    • Posts: 7
    pafkata90 said:

    That's a question that, I believe, is mostly dependent on preference. I don't think the one is generally better than the other.

    In fact, it's just a poll to know what's the preference of the majority, to know if it's a good idea or not…

    pafkata90 said:

    Using Colemak (more rolls) feels "tighter" for beginners compared to Dvorak (more hand alternation), which initially flows better on longer texts – that is excluding other factors such as similarities to previously used layout (qwerty).

    Can you explain more precisely what you think by "tighter" and why? It seems many people thinks that's the contrary (more "natural" movement than alternation).

    pafkata90 said:

    By the way, as I understood, you're a team/group of people, who want to start designing a new layout? Because you started with "I" and then continued with "we" so I got a bit confused :).

    I want more informations on the rolls, for the group of people involved in the project. We want to start a layout from scratch, but with the tools, the knowledge and the community we have now.

    pafkata90 said:

    PS: The opinion I've stated is purely subjective, based on my experience.

    That's just what I wanted, thanks.

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 1
    • From: Sofia, Bulgaria
    • Registered: 05-Mar-2011
    • Posts: 387
    Sinma said:

    Can you explain more precisely what you think by "tighter" and why? It seems many people thinks that's the contrary (more "natural" movement than alternation).

    Well it's just how I would compare the difference between the two ideas – more freedom vs "tighter" feeling. It's because when you start up with a new layout, things like these (where the following letter is) are very noticeable. And after a little while with Dvorak, when I started Colemak, I felt strange and somehow strangely restricted by having to keep my hands on place and do combinations like YOU, ION (which translate to Qwerty's O:I, L:J). It was just different and required some learning and adjusting, unlike the hand alternation, which comes naturally. That is because no matter how much you try, you can't not have some odd rolls. After a little while these rolls became so easy and fast that I don't see them as a problem that doesn't bother me, but a really comfortable roll with very high speed and accuracy. This is also what I referred to as "finger independence". You have to control better what each finger is doing more often than before. The learning experience is somewhat similar to learning to use your pinkies the first time you start touch typing, just not that much.

    Talking about accuracy – that's the other thing. Some of these odd rolls in the beginning feel unnatural and thus provoke some errors. That's why I said initially the hand alternation approach would have better accuracy. But I've got to say after I became comfortable with the layout, the accuracy wasn't a problem at all.

    Last edited by pafkata90 (21-Feb-2013 23:01:46)
    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 21-Feb-2013
    • Posts: 7

    Yep, YOU and ION are very tricky… Maybe with my proposed method (digraphs with accessibility notes, 0 = very easy), this kind of thing will not append ("you" and "ion" are pretty common)…

    In fact the question is not rolls vs alternation, it's "rolls or alternation more important?" (cause Dvorak method is alternation > inward rolls > all). This was pretty difficult, since some users reports they have many difficulties with alternation, and at the opposite side we have those who think alternation is far better. Maybe it's possible to make alternation and rolls stands on an equal footing… Don't know if it's efficient.

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 169
    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 5,125

    You simply can't do a poll on these fora and expect representative results. That'd be worse than bad science! ;)

    I like rolls, but it's been so long since I typed Dvorak that I can't quite remember how it was in comparison. I don't mind YOU and ION much I think, but then again I've played the piano.

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 21-Feb-2013
    • Posts: 7

    Points of view of people who have tested Colemak and Dvorak can be very interesting for me who have only the experience of alternation, I think.

    After some tests, I'm not very convinced… I don't know if it was because Colemak is close to qwerty, but some di/trigraphs/words are a little painful on Colemak: "you", "da", "artist", etc (maybe I'm not used to rolls…)

    So I think about rollternation (cause 2 or 3 letters on the same hand are easy). Don't if it was a good solution… but this guy shows me that I'm probably in the right direction.

    Last edited by Sinma (22-Feb-2013 22:52:46)
    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 169
    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 5,125

    Some polygrams are a little painful on any layout! Especially before you get used to them. That alone doesn't tell a lot. Of course, if very common polygraphs like ION are painful to you then that may merit looking into. It's still about the whole though.

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 21-Feb-2013
    • Posts: 7

    So, after some reflexion, the problem seems to be that I don’t know what is the priority of each parameter. However, It’s the interesting part.

    I think the most important is we must avoid one-finger and generally painful digraph, that is to say writing must be smooth before everything (especially speed or hand balance).

    So, everybody: what are the easier words to write with your actual layout? Just a quick poll about general users’ feelings, not really scientific but still interesting.

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 7
    • Registered: 21-Apr-2010
    • Posts: 809

    That's a terrific question, with no quick and easy answers. It's something that I've been puzzling over myself.

    I'll try and put my finger on it.  Are you after words that are easy to type?  Or enjoyable/nice to type?

    Last edited by pinkyache (17-Mar-2013 00:41:42)

    --
    Physicians deafen our ears with the Honorificabilitudinitatibus of their heavenly Panacaea, their sovereign Guiacum.

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 169
    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 5,125

    You should probably put more than one finger on it; otherwise it may qualify as a same-finger incidence and those things are nasty.

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 3
    • Registered: 08-Dec-2010
    • Posts: 656

    When I started to learn Colemak layout, I had to remember exactly the place of each key. Then after a month, I forgot all the key positions but I can type them blindly.

    Similarly, I now forget all easy words I can type. I just type them.

    Last edited by Tony_VN (07-Mar-2013 05:54:35)
    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 7
    • Registered: 21-Apr-2010
    • Posts: 809
    DreymaR said:

    You should probably put more than one finger on it; otherwise it may qualify as a same-finger incidence and those things are nasty.

    Oh funny!  Weird thing is, that I actually enjoy a little one finger action from time to time.  I even like the ll, ss digraphs and I'm trying to get into pp.  But maybe that's because it's so extraordinary under Dvorak.

    --
    Physicians deafen our ears with the Honorificabilitudinitatibus of their heavenly Panacaea, their sovereign Guiacum.

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 169
    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 5,125

    A little one finger action can be absolutely wonderful if done right, that much is true...

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 21-Feb-2013
    • Posts: 7

    It’s very slow to type one finger digraph, and It’s not really comfortable.

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 7
    • Registered: 21-Apr-2010
    • Posts: 809

    Quite unavoidable though.   There's lots of repeated letters in the English language.  And it's not always terrible.  For instance, I prefer to type 'SS' and 'NN' to something like 'SN' (with Dvorak.)  'SN' being an inward roll which you might think would be easier, but for me it is not.

    Last edited by pinkyache (10-Mar-2013 11:37:36)

    --
    Physicians deafen our ears with the Honorificabilitudinitatibus of their heavenly Panacaea, their sovereign Guiacum.

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 169
    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 5,125

    I have no idea what you're talking about, pinkyache. I think it's fair to say that people on the colemak forum cannot be expected to remember the dvorak layout by heart. Even if I did use it for a couple of years and have a more visual relationship with my layouts than most people seem to do, that holds true for me at least. ;)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 7
    • Registered: 21-Apr-2010
    • Posts: 809

    A quick glance at the layout will help. 

    HTNS are the right hand home keys.  The 'SN' digraph being an inward roll.   Which you might think would be easier to type then say a same finger digraph such as 'SS'.  For me it feels quite awkward.  It could be that outer rolls are more comfortable on that side of the hand (opposite side to the thumb.)

    All I'm saying is that repeated characters do occur in lots of words, so they are unavoidable,  I can't say that they feel especially awkward that's all.

    Last edited by pinkyache (10-Mar-2013 16:39:13)

    --
    Physicians deafen our ears with the Honorificabilitudinitatibus of their heavenly Panacaea, their sovereign Guiacum.

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 169
    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 5,125

    So you mean a pinky-ring finger roll (yes, a quick glance would help but don't expect people to google stuff for you please).

    Yes, those are a bit beastly and I agree that they could feel even worse than the pinky or ring finger same-finger bigrams. They're not too bad for me but I've played the piano which means doing etudes to strengthen exactly those kind of movements.

    Some have tried to implement a repeat key, essentially copying the last stroke to avoid same-finger. I think it was a thumb key. I don't know how effective that might be.

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 21-Feb-2013
    • Posts: 7

    When I talk about same-finger digraph, I mean different letters, because type twice a letter is pretty easy.

    I thinked about a repeat key, and I don't think it's worth it, at least in french because we have more letters (with Bépo, we have direct access to é, à and è for example).

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 04-Apr-2013
    • Posts: 538

    Interesting data on this.  Apparently (at least on the level of trigraphs), mixing both is a good idea, and this sorta agrees with my experience.

    Some colemak test words:

    High or full alternation: 
    everything
    everybody
    algorithm 
    reality - compare "realities" for additional roll
    refresh - compare "refreshing"
    together
    classify
    websites 
    sister
    periodic
    decide
    typewriter
    overthrowing - except for "in"
    everywhere - except for "he"
    resistance - except for "sta"
    mathematical - except for slight roll "hem"
    alternation - short roll towards the end
    
    Largely alternating, some rolls:
    usually
    ventures
    consistent
    assure
    direction
    another 
    planet
    dioxide
    perception
    properly
    normality
    position
    yesterday
    landing
    developed
    directly
    
    Roughly equal mix:
    everyone
    competition
    layouts
    couple
    perception
    population
    godfather
    creases
    masterpieces
    headwind
    pointless
    efficient
    tongues
    scientific 
    moisturizer - compare "moistening"
    android
    nevertheless
    additional
    vocation
    industrial
    existence
    shoulder
    experiences
    obliteration
    forecast
    internet
    sentence
    opportunity
    determined
    
    Mostly rolling:
    starcraft
    barcraft
    minecraft
    rational - for comparison, "rationality" has some alternation toward the end
    moistening
    illumination
    opportunities
    thousands
    arrangements
    absurdly
    intelligent
    solution
    central
    invaluable
    starting
    standpoints
    fieldcraft
    keyboard
    sparkling
    infiltration
    chemistry
    elements
    fermentation
    sometime
    arrangements
    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 0
    • From: London, UK
    • Registered: 09-Nov-2013
    • Posts: 270
    DreymaR said:

    Some have tried to implement a repeat key, essentially copying the last stroke to avoid same-finger. I think it was a thumb key. I don't know how effective that might be.

    That's a brilliant idea. I'll implement that with T9-QWERTY.

    T9-QWERTY - my port of T9 to the PC (a work in progress); T9-MOUSE - COMING SOON
    Keyboard Shorthand

    Offline
    • 0
    • Reputation: 169
    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 5,125

    Lalop: Yes, that's interesting!

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

    Offline
    • 0