Warlord Xecc said:
So I've been using Qwerty for 14 years, started when I was five. I learned to touch type when I was eight and recently started doing type tests, my first one was 112 wpm but past 6 weeks I've improved that to a 142 wpm / 135 wpm average. (This was on 10ff, on typeracer my average is 110)....
My goal is to reach a whooping 200wpm, would it be worth it for me to go Colemak for this purpose or should I just keep on with Qwerty? ...
Let me start with Wow! Those speeds are impressive and definitely puts you in the 99.99% percentile. Switching layouts doesn't really have any scientific evidence of increasing your speed, but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence. As an example, I currently type faster with Colemak than I ever did with Qwerty (though not by much), and you can find several other people on this site that have switched in the Experiences forum that have also shown improvement, some of them pretty dramatic. These same anecdotal speed increase experiences can also be read on people that have switched to Dvorak, the previous fastest typist in the world (Barbara Blackburne) used Dvorak. The distance metrics for dvorak and colemak differ depending on which metric is used but overall it seems like Colemak has the edge.
The question for you though is do these speed gains happen when you are near the top of the typing world? For that question the data is even more rare. Only a handful of people are capable of typing that fast in the first place, no matter the layout. We have a couple of fast typists in that range I'm sure, but I think the best one that you can read about here is Ryan Heise, and his blog. He is currently typing at 130wpm on hi-games.net, speeds are roughly equivalent to typeracer, up from his Qwerty speeds of ~100+ wpm. Side note, Sean Wrona, mentioned by Dreymar, is probably the fastest typist in the world-- he averaged 174 wpm over 50 minutes on hi-games and has done 220wpm on 10fastfingers.
At these enormous speeds though from what I can tell is that everyone uses "tricks" of some sort to support that speed. As in not leaving your hands on the home row and not using the same fingers for same finger keys, like typing the first 4 letters of "December"(in qwerty) with pointer finger, middle finger, pointer finger, middle finger. Once people start incorporating these "tricks" I'm sure the distance metrics that often are cited as part of the potential speed improvements of different layouts don't matter as much. I even do these things in colemak, and I only do 100+wpm on 10fastfingers, eg I type words that end in "lk" in colemak with middle finger, pointer finger. My personal opinion is that switching to a layout like Colemak will probably get you some percentage increase in wpm, but that will have to be honed by customizing tricks and extensive practice to reach speeds of 150+wpm. If someone put a gun to my head and said you need to be able to type 150wpm in one year or you're toasted, I would choose Colemak over qwerty and hope that my poor fingers didn't break down with all the practice I would be doing.
As for reaching 200+wpm... Well just know that the "fastest" typist in the world averages ~170 wpm over time. Sean has hit 256 on typeracer and 220 on 10fastfingers, but these are short brief time periods. So if you want to hit these speeds, just know that it will have to be over a short time period. Anyway, whatever you choose you have a lot of hard work in front of you to reach even rarer heights.
So good luck! and if you do choose Colemak, or don't ;), please keep us updated here!
Also, if you really only care about speed and don't mind carrying around a keyboard, you might want to consider stenography (like plover). I would love to learn but unfortunately I need to mobile work from my laptop, and laptops don't support it.
Last edited by jsmithy (04-Oct-2016 23:45:10)