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    Colemak transitional layouts

    • Started by Shai
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    • Shai
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    I've been working on my version of the transitional layouts, inspired by Tarmak and Minimak.

    * Minimizes temporary positions (; moved once, K moved twice).
    * Designed to work in either 4 or 2 steps
    * It doesn't touch the bottom row until the end
    * In two of the steps changes are contained to one hand
    * Incremental difficulty, the first step moves fewer letters
    * First step brings very substantial benefits
    * The layout name counts how many letters have changed from QWERTY (excluding Caps Lock)
    * Caps Lock to Backspace should be remapped for all transitional Colemak layouts

    QWERTY

    QWERT YUIOP
    ASDFG HJKL;
    ZXCVB NM,./

    Colemak-4 (EFKT moved, K in temporary place)

    QWFRK YUIOP
    ASDTG HJEL;
    ZXCVB NM,./

    Colemak-8 (DRKGS moved, K in temporary place)

    QWFKG YUIOP
    ARSTD HJEL;
    ZXCVB NM,./

    Colemak-13 (LOUI; moved, K; in temporary place)

    QWFKG YLU;P
    ARSTD HJEIO
    ZXCVB NM,./

    Colemak (PNKYJ; moved)

    QWFPG JLUY;
    ARSTD HNEIO
    ZCXVB KM,./
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    • From: Poland, birthday 8 №v 2004
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    Good idea! I like idea for allowing 4 or 2 steps of learning! The problem is step 2 is too soon for RSD hurdle and last step is too far for simple NJ swap (the fact of bottom row is not important). Another thing I like is moving IO in one step.

    Last edited by PiotrGrochowski (20-Jun-2015 15:19:55)
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    Interesting! (And a bit frustrating I guess, as I'm working hard on implementing Tarmak and now we've got another contestant – but all in good sport and the interest of the users.) :-)

    • The T>F>E>K first loop, as discussed by Piotr, is indeed a powerful first step.
    • Moving O and I simultaneously is good, as Piotr says. However, I do lean towards Karl's idea of getting the big loop out of the way early (that led to Tarmak's ETOIR→ETROI transition).
    • Also, in that discussion we debated the nature of the semicolon vs J. As you know, J is really exceptionally rare compared to both K and semicolon. So the J may be a better key for moving...?
    • How is it "designed to work in 2 or 4 steps", I wonder? Any special considerations for that goal?
    • As Piotr says, the RSD step may feel hard – so a second step with that loop and five keys changed doesn't look so easy to me?
    • Containing steps to one hand seemed like a good idea initially, but it may not be a real benefit after all – thoughts on that?

    Last edited by DreymaR (20-Jun-2015 15:34:52)

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    • Shai
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    The criticisms are valid, but there are pros and cons to every layout, and they need to be balanced out. Overall I believe the proposed layouts would work better for most people most of the time.

    * The proposed layout has only 4 steps vs 5 steps of Tarmak. I really think that 5 steps is too many. Changing a layout is disruptive, and you would like to minimize the amount of times that happens. Also 5 layouts generates extra maintenance work.
    * I think that having the option to do in just 2 steps is extremely valuable.
    * The layouts maximize the improvement in each step, moving frequent letters in each step. In the current Tarmak the first step has less improvement, so someone trying it out might be less motivated to continue.
    * Because learning the RS keys can be confusing, I believe it's better to do it sooner rather than later so you get more practice. Step 2 will be a bit more difficult, but not overly so.
    * Containing the area of change is also extremely important. If you forget where a key is located, you might start hitting keys in the vicinity until you find the right one. In that case you know that there's a limited radius of where that key can be which makes it less frustrating. Also it makes it easier to visually search for the keys if the key is nearby.
    * Not everyone is a programmer, and many modern programming languages don't use semicolons (e.g. Python, Ruby, Go, Coffeescript, Swift, Clojure, Scala, etc.), and in many cases the IDE can add semicolons. There's also an option to skip that step for people who use semi-colon a lot.
    * I find Tarmak confusing and intimidating. The layouts above can easily be explained in simple language (Colemak-4 - start with the most frequent letters, Colemak-8 - left hand, Colemak-13 - right hand, Colemak - everything else). The two step version is even simpler - learn Colemak one hand at a time (Colemak-8 - left hand + E, Colemak - right hand + P)
    * DRKGS or LOUI; can be moved in either order. However the order chosen generates less temporary key placements, and still manages to bring all but two keys to the home row. A different order would work less well for those doing it in two steps. Also the two step version only moves one key between hands in each step.

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    I think this and Tarmak target different enough niches to both have a place.  Over the past few months, I've seen 2-3 people ask for a more aggressive, fewer-stage approach, for which this can definitely fit the bill.

    However, I find this method more intimidating, for a simple reason.  Four character changes is around the limit of what I'm able to comfortably keep in mind, with five stretching it a bit.  Tarmak manages this very well, with three 4-character stages, one 5-character stage, and one 3-character stage.  This approach, on the other hand, has one 4-character stage, two 5-character stages, and one 6(!)-character stage. 

    Maybe other people have better memories, but it's safer to assume that they don't.  As such, I think we should continue focusing on 5-stage Tarmak as the more universal (though longer) method, while listing this method as a 4/2 stage alternative for those who would like one.

    ---

    As a relevant side-note: one somewhat common use of Tarmak is to switch to a new stage on Friday night, so that by the time Monday comes around, they have (hopefully) practiced enough to continue being productive.  Could stages with 1-2 additional characters still be adapted to over the weekend?  More guinea pigs data are required.

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    Thanks for the explanations!

    The discussion of the semicolon frequency in that debate was actually not taking programmers into major consideration. Certainly that's what got it started but a little snooping around showed that the semicolon key is much more common than the letter J even in classical English text. A somewhat surprising but I think valid result. (Keep in mind that the key holds both semicolon and colon.)

    I agree with Lalop on not making the individual stages too big. It's easier to skip a step to reduce the number of steps than it is to tackle a step that feels too big for which there is no cure. The LUI loop is small, but it's also independent. Not a bad idea to couple it with moving the O, but that happens at the cost of one more step with displaced keys. The idea of getting the big loop and misplaced keys out of the way first seems sound to me. Since the LUI step is small, it'll probably be attempted soon after the fourth Tarmak, thus the bigrams shouldn't matter that much for the transition.

    I do feel that I personally might try jumping straight to step 2 of Tarmak, tackling a larger step with both hands and immediately getting a largish benefit. After all, what I actually did was to jump straight to step 5...! ;-) But people are quite different so I provide the smaller steps and I'm willing to implement and serve that many steps. What really creates maintenance work is the number of variants and choices available today! Would you like ANSI sauce and Curly A-Wing fries with that order, sir?

    If an accelerated progression is desired, I recommend doing steps 2, 3 and 5 (7, 4 and 8 keys moved). This gains the advantages of a big improvement in the first step, an easy RSD step and moving LUIO in one step – but the steps are big so it's only for the brave. A two-step Tarmak may be too much I feel, defeating much of the purpose (maybe one-hand-at-a-time is the best option for that – jumping straight to Tarmak3 seems a little much)? Lalop – I don't see why people who want a more aggressive approach can't just read the instructions and skip a step or two? Go on brave newcomer, tackle that 7-letter jump to Tarmak2 right away if you feel up to it!

    As Piotr (and you) pointed out, the first step could've given more immediate benefit by making it a T>F>E>K one, but that's at the cost of displacing the more common K thus creating a little more disruption. I find it quite appealing to show the customers that only the rarely used letter J has to move to temporary positions; displacing several keys seems more confusing and intimidating to me – certainly displacing several keys at once as is the case with Colemak-13!

    The argument that someone might try the first step of Tarmak and not find it effective enough seems somewhat contrived to me. I find it hard to believe that anyone should try putting the E and N in place and start their journey towards Colemak, only to begin worrying about the T and then quit becase they didn't care to stick around for a week or two! At least, I never heard anyone mention such quibbles at all.

    I have put a T>F>E>K step in my PKL files as a variant, but I won't be promoting it actively to avoid confusion for the newcomers. Heaven knows it's confusing enough to meet all the choices available now!

    "Colemak one hand at a time" is what started Tarmak in the first place – it even predates the name Tarma(c)k (but I started with the right hand and now it's the left hand first)! We've come full circle it seems. ;-) I abandoned that concept because I hadn't thought of doing the left hand with E in place first, but also because I felt that it'd be easier to learn a little with one hand and then with the other. It's just a thought, and I'm not sure what's best. Tarmak moves keys R(L)–L–L–R(L)–R, so it's not strictly alternating nor strictly hand-bound – but it does finish the left hand in step 3 like yours does in step 2. I feel that it's a balanced approach.

    Last edited by DreymaR (03-Jul-2015 09:36:34)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    DreymaR said:

    Lalop – I don't see why people who want a more aggressive approach can't just read the instructions and skip a step or two? Go on brave newcomer, tackle that 7-letter jump to Tarmak2 right away if you feel up to it!

    True, I suspect there was some not-reading of instructions involved.

    Also, I think DreymaR has a point about confusion.  A newbie trying to choose a new keyboard layout already faces enough decision paralysis with Dvorak, Colemak, Workman, Minimak, etc, each with slightly different advantages and disadvantages, to choose from.  We should try to avoid that same paralysis for transitional layouts that are ultimately supposed to be temporary.

    So, while I was happy at how karl's J-Hopper was quickly adopted as the new Tarmak, for instance, that doesn't seem to be possible here.  The two methods are just too different, with wildly varying advantages and disadvantages (e.g. fewer stages + better first stage VS fewer changes per stage + fewer temp keys + significantly lower frequency of temp keys), for us to conclude "this one is a net positive; let's replace it".  And if the decision is deferred to the users, then the newbie is forced to (again!) compare such complicated criteria, which I don't foresee being a positive experience.

    (I probably should have known this, but my inner provide-all-the-options! voice is too strong.  As anyone trying my amphetype fork probably knows.)


    tldr/open question: While some users may find this method advantageous over the more universal Tarmak, is that worth imposing a decision paralysis cost on every user?

    Last edited by lalop (22-Jun-2015 13:55:31)
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    If you really think that the stronger first step is a real advantage, I could change it. But I don't really think it's worth it over having only one temporary key.

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    I'm not sure if you were referring to me, but I'm not a fan of moving something as common as K to a temporary position; I think J-Hopper is pretty much ideal in that regard.

    (Yeah, calling K a common letter, I know, right.  But it's still, according to wikipedia, more than 5 times as common as J, at 0.77% compared to 0.15%.  J is really rare!)

    Now, it's not completely out of the question.  I can see it helping with motivation, and if I expected to use Tarmak 1 for any extended period of time (similar to one of the design goals for Minimak 4), it would be very tempting.  As it stands, however, I don't think it helps enough to justify the disadvantages, among them that it breaks the easy summary of J-Hopper.

    Last edited by lalop (22-Jun-2015 20:35:08)
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    My thoughts exactly.

    I know that a key with only 0.5% frequency in a very wrong place may feel annoying, so it should be a real advantage to utilize a key that's much less common than that.

    Note that you can use Shai's and Piotr's first T>F>E>K step with Tarmak! It's an alternative first step if you don't mind misplacing K in step 1, and leads smoothly to Tarmak2 if you wish.

    If Shai makes materials for this progression, I won't have to provide that alternative step as I was about to. Heh. ;-)

    Last edited by DreymaR (02-Jul-2015 09:15:31)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    One thing that I liked about Tarmak over this new system was that the J was the constant moving piece. This was easy to keep in my head while typing. When I needed to type a J, I knew in the back of my mind that the J was in some weird place. If sometimes the K is the wild card and sometimes the semicolon, that would be more difficult to keep straight. But the difference isn't so severe that it is probably a major factor either way.

    I think consistency of the moving piece is therefore also important.

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    Shai, Re your first claim: It seems to me that your system minimizes temporary positions to a lesser degree than Tarmak at least.

    • Tarmak misplaces the J in steps 1, 2 and 3; step 4 has no misplaced keys – one of the arguments for Karl's variant was to get rid of the misplaced keys first. That's three misplacements total.
    • Your progression misplaces K in steps 1, 2 and 3, and the semicolon in step 3. That's four misplacements!
    • Using only Tarmak 2–5 to have the same number of steps as you gives us only two misplacements total!
       (Note: That makes the first step a little too hard but also very efficient for the brave; your progression makes for more even steps if you really want 2 or 4 steps, certainly!).

    It's not the number of times a key moves that's most important, I think, but how many layouts have how many keys in the wrong place. Having keys in wrong places is what trips you up, not whether they had moved before any given step. This was also my criticism against Piotr's first transitional layout suggestion.

    Even counting it your way though, the full Tarmak moves the J three times and you move the K and semicolon three times. So you really can't claim to minimize temporary positions (unless you're comparing with Piotr's first suggestion).

    Last edited by DreymaR (02-Jul-2015 09:25:08)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    • Shai
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    I didn't claim that it had less temporary positions than Tarmak, just that it tried to minimize it to a similar extent.

    While Tarmak focuses on minimizing the temporary positions, Colemak focuses on maximizing the frequency of the keys moved to their Colemak positions. I believe both approaches would work.

    While I'm sure that Tarmak would make it easy to those who choose to learn it, the main problem is that it lacks appeal. The transitional layouts offer similar level of ease of learning (with a different set of pros and cons), while eliminating some of the things that make Tarmak unattractive.
    * 5 steps seems too long and time consuming, 4 steps doesn't look like such a long journey.
    * Confusing names for the layouts, e.g. Tarmak3(ETR).
    * Unclear how much effort/changes from QWERTY in each step.
    * Confusing terminology (loops).
    * Skipping the first step makes the first step the most difficult one (7 letters moved), which will be very frustrating to new users.
    * First step doesn't have very obvious improvements compared to QWERTY, so people who would try it wouldn't be impressed.
    * Not appealing to those who only want a minimal amount of effort, who don't plan on learning the full Colemak, especially compared to Colemak-4.
    * It isn't obvious which steps you should skip if you want less steps.
    * There is a unintuitive difficulty curve, which makes it a bit weird (i.e. Tarmak4(ETRO) is the most difficult step), vs the Colemak transitional layouts that start with easiest step and becomes a tiny bit more difficult with each step.
    * Doesn't look appealing to those who want to learn it in less steps (Colemak-8 is much more appealing as you learn the layout one hand at a time).
    * J moving around so many times looks weird and/or annoying to relearn.
    * Long and complex introduction and FAQ which tries to justify the above, but which most users won't bother reading.

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    It just seemed a little unclear what you meant. Glad that's cleared up, then!

    • It may seem that you're giving Tarmak a harsh judgement – "it lacks appeal" and is "unattractive"?!? To the contrary, I've seen many people express happy feelings about it. I know that its presentation could've been better, but all in all it looks quite appealing to my eye – and this is corroborated by Ezuk's blog for instance.

    • I don't think that the difference between 4 and 5 steps is dramatic. Your way makes for a better 2-step solution if that's desirable, there's a point. But the forum has discussed this a lot as you're aware and it seems to me that most potential users want a maximum of 4–5 keys per step (as Lalop said above); also, when the steps are smaller it's easier to merge two steps to get an intermediate one should someone choose to. I've noted though, that the users who have told success stories chose not to skip any steps. To the contrary, they tend to say that they got too eager and did the last step too early and they kinda wish they hadn't so they'd have avoided some stress – this is my impression (and that's even when the last step is a tiny little 3-key one!). So I think easy does it, still. The pilot user who tried the first progression with large steps spent a long time on each step and a longish time total to reach the goal compared to many later Tarmak users; but he's only one data point of course. Again, it doesn't seem to me that the users are as concerned with the number of steps as with the max number of keys per step. Transition users in general seem to want baby steps.

    • The names of the layouts aren't confusing when you read my main Tarmak post I think – it's Tarmak1–5. The letter codes are explained further down and really logical enough to me (the most important letter improved for each step), but in the main post and PKL it's just numbering. The reason the letter codes are kept is to distinguish between variants, and that's still necessary. I've chosen to bury my earlier variants instead of keeping them as active options. No need for them, really.

    We're in the Open Source dilemma: More choices is good for some but makes it daunting for the starters. Part of your success story with Colemak has probably been freezing it since 2006; this opens for some criticism from the most intense optimizers but in the end gives the newcomers a feeling of a stable and finalized product which is nice. Once choice is introduced, it gets harder for the newbies. (Yeah, sorry about that DH-mod thing; it's just too much fun to leave be – and addresses a real problem which has led to the creation of in my opinion inferior layout alternatives....)

    • This might in fact be a point of critique against your introduction of transitional layouts at this point, as mentioned above! Why introduce a progression with comparable benefit to the existing one when its main effect may be making it harder to choose for the newcomers? I've worked a lot on making Tarmak newbie-friendly (PKL implementations with images, listening to experiences and reworking presentations based on their feedback, Ezuk's blog presentation etc) because I realize how daunting it is for them; now I fear they may be too confused when arriving here and getting the impression of schizmas? Nobody wants another "editor war"/"bike shed" story!? But I guess you felt the need for it, given that you've got all this gripes with the existing Tarmak. We'll just have to live with diversity then.

    • The effort change per step has been analyzed with Patorjk and CodeSharp, but I don't trust those analyzers too much to represent my goals. Other analyses have been performed and largely confirm the fairly obvious. How is this unclear?

    • "Loops" are confusing? I don't think so? It's very obvious how the L>U>I loop works, surely you must agree? The other loop is bigger so it needs to be broken up. Not really confusing, is it? Or is it my notation that trips you up?

    • New users don't tend to skip the first step! It's an option for the brave, and people who choose Tarmak tend to be careful with their bite sizes (the very brave just cold turkey straight to Colemak) as said above. These want a big step, and so they can have it. You provide a 2-step alternative with similarly big steps. Indeed, if someone wants to ease into transitional layouts they shouldn't dive into a big step first but sidle up to it; in such a case I'd recommend Tarmak steps 1, 2, 3 and 5.

    • Tarmak1 has very obvious improvements over QWERTY, as it brings E and N to the home row and shows good improvement in analysis. The T>F>E>K step beats it but at the cost of moving a five times more common letter and moving a different letter from the other steps (see the discussion with Karl that led to the current Tarmak – I really think he had a point there).

    • Those who want a Minimak instead of transition, shouldn't use any of our steps but a Minimak or similar. They're really a different customer base. It's still safe enough to stay with any of our steps for a while. Nobody sane would stop at Tarmak4 forever for instance, as it's a short way from "perfection". I believe that would apply to your Colemak-4 too. If someone do get stuck it'll likely be at Tarmak3 or your Colemak-8 I guess? Those are decent enough I guess.

    • Which steps you might skip is clearly explained as far as I can see (in the Mini-FAQ, as it's an optional strategy). How should that be made clearer?

    • I disagree that your progression has an even progression in difficulty, from the looks of it. Your step 2 (Colemak-8) seems more difficult than the others, and Colemak-13 looks confusing with two misplaced keys. There's no real reason to seek a strictly accelerating difficulty progression though, as I see it. Indeed Tarmak4 has to be more difficult, like your Colemak-4, as it clears up the big loop leading to no more misplaced keys – splitting it otherwise would lead to too many steps I think. But I think that's a good stage to face and overcome that difficulty.

    • If someone tries your progression, they'll be able to report on how it actually feels – the problem is of course that nobody will be able to learn Colemak with both progressions and compare how they actually fly! So I guess we're mostly left to guesswork. Tarmak's been tried and tested and seems to work well, at least. I haven't noticed all the confusion and feelings of weirdness that you seem to experience, but those may be underreported.

    • Your progression is nice for 2 or 4 steps, Tarmak is nice for 3 or 5 steps. The one-hand-at-a-time approach seemed appealing at first, but I haven't got any real impression as to its actual benefits.

    • J-hopping is weird? To the contrary, moving only the least used letter bar some odd ones must be much less weird and annoying than misplacing several more common ones at once! Several users cheered the "J-hopper" approach as much more clear and appealing than the ETOIR approach which misplaced two keys (only one at a time). Tarmak users will know that the J is the one in an odd place, and since it's so rare (in English) it doesn't hurt much.

    • Yes, particularly the second post (technically the third now) in the Tarmak thread is long and wordy. It's optional, and mostly for people who ask about things like you're doing now. Yes, I'd like a clearer and more manageable presentation. We all should work on better presentations. I think mine aren't the worst on this site even if they're generally too verbose and thorough. At least, the graphics are nice – ne c'est pas?

    It seems to me that you've made a very long list now... maybe you should number your gripes for clarity? :-þ And I get the feeling that many of your critiques here are a bit contrived and/or apply to both our progressions? It's still an interesting discussion, of course.

    Last edited by DreymaR (03-Jul-2015 13:49:52)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    Given that I am already using Colemak (before switching I used Dvorak for 3 months and Qwerty ever since I learned how to type), I can not say from personal experience which series of transitional layouts is better, yet I would say that if I had to choose a transitional layout to get to Colemak I think that I would have chosen Tarmak, for one reason and one reason only.

    The main reason of having a series of transitional keyboard layouts to begin with is so that your typing speed doesn't drop to 5 or 6 words a minute when you first begin relearning how to type. Likewise, it is probably preferred to choose a transitional keyboard layout that is more gradual in transition since it will help to keep your typing speed from taking a dramatic plunge when you start to learn how to use Colemak. Since Tarmak has 5 steps instead of 4, it would in theory prevent my typing speed from taking a more dramatic drop then if I were to say, choose Colemak 4, 8, and 13.

    That said, it wouldn't really make sense to skip steps when using a transitional keyboard layout.

    But if I was going to use only 4 steps to transition to Colemak instead of 5, I think that I would choose Colemak 4, 8, and 13 instead just because that series of layouts is more systematic in transitioning (i.e. Colemak-4 - most frequent letters, Colemak-8 - left hand, Colemak-13 - right hand, Colemak - everything else).

    In the end, it doesn’t matter which set of transitional keyboard layouts you choose because both of them, regardless of which one you choose, will transition you to the point where you are eventually using the greatest keyboard layout ever created in human history, the Colemak Keyboard Layout.

    I really think that someone should create a transitional Dvorak-Colemak layout for people who want to switch from Dvorak. It was worth every second, when I switched from Dvorak to Colemak. Never once had I looked back and I know that if I had the luxury of using a Dvorak-Colemak transitional keyboard layout to switch at that time, I wouldn't have hesitated to try it.

    Last edited by Juna Urso Tropika (10-Jan-2016 03:38:57)
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    Thanks for the input.

    A Dvorak-to-Colemak set of layouts is an interesting thought! It wouldn't be too hard to make. But it's already a bit of a hassle to maintain several transitional layouts, so that would be even more... hmmm...

    My initial thought would be that Dvorak users have already switched to one layout that's much harder to switch to. So either they still remember their QWERTY well enough (in which case they could use Tarmak) or they're hard core layout switchers already (in which case they'll manage without Tarmak, as I did). But if you feel that a set of transitional layouts would've helped you, then likely other feel so too. So as mentioned, it's an interesting thought!

    Last edited by DreymaR (10-Jan-2016 23:10:36)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
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    I guess that I would consider myself to be more a hard core layout switcher. My reason for suggesting a Dvorak-to-Colemak set of transitioning layouts was that I had to wait a while before I could switch to Colemak.

    When I first heard of alternative keyboard layouts, I only knew of Dvorak. When I had the chance, I then started learning Dvorak. A day and a half after I had started learning Dvorak, I had heard of an even better keyboard layout called Colemak about a day and a half into my learning process. I was so frustrated when I had learned that there was an even better keyboard layout because it kind of implied that I had wasted the last day and a half learning a mediocre keyboard layout. I was so frustrated that I literally came with every possible reason that I could think of to not learn Colemak because I didn’t want the time that I had put into learning Dvorak to go to waste.

    So although I knew that Colemak existed and was even better, I chose to continue learning Dvorak. A month after I had practiced typing on Dvorak, I started noticing that there was a rather abnormal amount of pressure being placed on my right pinky finger. I really wanted to switch Colemak by then, yet I couldn’t because it was very necessary that I maintain my current typing speed so that I could still be able to turn my schoolwork in on time. I had to wait two months for school to end before I could be relieved and switch to Colemak. If there was a set of Dvorak-

    Once I had started learning Colemak, I had started to deeply regret my decision to continue learning Dvorak instead. However, once I was finished switching to Colemak I knew that this would be where I wanted to be from the start and I should have learned it sooner. My typing speed had moved from 27 wpm on Qwerty to 44 wpm on Dvorak to 58 wpm on Colemak. If there was a set of Dvorak-to-Colemak transitioning layouts available when I was ready to switch, I probably would have used them so that I could switch to Colemak even sooner without waiting two months for school to end.

    I think that the main problem for switchers is that Dvorak is still more well known than Qwerty and therefore people will often learn it instead since Colemak isn’t as well known. If people knew of Colemak instead of Dvorak, they could relearn how to type once instead of twice. Plus they would also the advantage of using the Tarmak layouts to switch.

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    Dvorak is so rare and Colemak even more so that anyone switching from Dvorak to Colemak is like a unicorn sighting.

    Colemak is starting to appear in HW/FW of some keyboards like the popular POK3R, who knows, we might actually see it gain more popularity if more keyboard manufacturers start doing that.

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    Interesting story, and I see how a "DvoTarMak" set of layouts would've helped you Juna Urso.

    But I fear that BullHorn may be right, too: There probably aren't very many people around dedicated to switching from Dvorak to Colemak. Some users choose to stick with Dvorak because it's still a very good layout, and others have already done the switch (like me). How many would benefit like you, I wonder?

    Last edited by DreymaR (25-Jan-2016 12:23:56)

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

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    I went through Tarmak a few months ago. I did not find it overly confusing, and I would not have benefited from fewer steps. I really like the idea of mostly just rotating three keys.
    To me, the bigger problem was and is the D-H curl. I chose to learn that, exactly because I had myself always felt that the sideways movement with the index fingers is unpleasant. Still, though, this is a choice you have to make before starting to learn a new layout, which makes vanilla colemak and curl-DH more distinct. Now, this post also introduces an alternative transitional layout directed towards vanilla colemak.

    I guess a question becomes whether it would make more sense to fork the projects? It is perhaps a necessity that more diversity will continue to arise in the absence of objective metrics on which keys are harder to hit across keyboards in a majority of people.

    Last edited by mkborregaard (21-Feb-2016 23:45:10)
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    mkborregaard said:

    Still, though, this is a choice you have to make before starting to learn a new layout, which makes vanilla colemak and curl-DH more distinct. Now, this post also introduces an alternative transitional layout directed towards vanilla colemak.

    I believe DreymaR has created transitional steps for Qwerty -> DH for those that want to take the direct route.

    It will be slightly more efficient to go direct Qwerty -> DH rather than Qwerty -> Colemak -> DH.   But in fairness, the Colemak to DH step is quite small, and not that difficult.  The main key you feel like you wasted your time relearning is G, since Colemak moves it, but DH moves it back to its Qwerty position. 

    It also depends on whether you have opted to go for the angle mod or not, that is another decision to make!

    Still, if people learn using the standard Tarmak transitions, but eventually decide (like us!) that the center keys are awkward, at least there now exists a relatively easy fix :P
    I anticipate most people who come to DH will do so from vanilla Colemak, rather than direct from Qwerty.

    Last edited by stevep99 (22-Feb-2016 10:54:56)

    Using Colemak Mod-DH with some additional ergonomic keyboard mods.

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    Indeed I have, as seen in the Tarmak "extras" post. If someone decides to go with a CurlAngle-modded Colemak I do recommend using these steps right away.


        Tarmak_Spectral_ETROI-Curl(DbgHk).png
            The Tarmak(ETROI) transitional Colemak layouts, for the Curl(DbgHk)Angle ergo mod
            The steps are spectrally color-coded from red (Tarmak1) to violet (Colemak-CurlAngle)
            Not shown in this figure is how the J key is forced into temporary positions (QWERTY E, B and R)

    That shows my variant, the "light curl".

    Last edited by DreymaR (22-Feb-2016 14:55:13)

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

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    Thanks, yes I did not mean learning D-H was difficult (I came directly from Qwerty using Dreymars steps to the 'light D-H with angle' and my keyboard looks exactly like the pictured). I meant that the various editions of Colemak caused confusion for me as a beginner, because it is hard to choose without experience.

    If there could be one - objectively optimal - layout, I would be so happy :-) So far I like the one I am using.

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    mkborregaard said:

    If there could be one - objectively optimal - layout

    If only :-P

    The problem is "optimal" is inherently subjective. People have different priorities for what they think is most important in a layout. Obviously there is a also trade-off between difficultly of learning vs final benefit gained, some may be willing to learn a less optimal but easier-to-learn layout. But even if you wanted the most optimal layout regardless of learning difficulty, you would still have to decide on what features were a priority.

    Personally, I think my layout (full DH mod) is as near to optimal as makes no odds.

    Last edited by stevep99 (04-Mar-2016 16:21:54)

    Using Colemak Mod-DH with some additional ergonomic keyboard mods.

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    I agree with Stevep; but then again I felt the same way before starting to use DH-mod. :-D

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

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