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    Comparing COLEMAK QWERTY DVORAK

    • Started by lgsa19
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    • Registered: 31-Jan-2018
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    Hi there!

    I am a student at The Glasgow School of Art and I am basing my current project 'update' on the use of different keyboards.

    As a teenager using a nokia 3210, I was very used to using the numpad layout on my phone to text, and so as smartphones appeared on the market I continued to change the settings of my keyboard from the default qwerty layout to numpad (a bit odd I know!). Eventually this feature was removed and so I had to bring myself into the 21st century and just adapt to touch typing with QWERTY.

    For my current project I am looking at the way in which we become accustomed to one method, whether it is qwerty, colemak, dvorak or another form of layout. I have re-stickered my keyboard and changed the settings to colmak/dvorak in an attempt to train my eye to the alternative layouts to qwerty and record how long this update takes for me to adapt to. By typing out the same passage I am looking at the speed difference and analysing the errors I am making, from which I hope to produce a visual piece of information.

    I would appreciate any comments anyone has on their own transition from the 'default' qwerty, and why the change has been beneficial. Some questions I have in mind are:

    Is the change in layout due to the type of work you are carrying out or your own preference?

    Did you find your typing speed improved when switching from qwerty?

    How long did it take to transition to a new layout?

    Thank you :)

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    lgsa19 said:

    Hi there!

    I am a student at The Glasgow School of Art and I am basing my current project 'update' on the use of different keyboards.

    As a teenager using a nokia 3210, I was very used to using the numpad layout on my phone to text, and so as smartphones appeared on the market I continued to change the settings of my keyboard from the default qwerty layout to numpad (a bit odd I know!). Eventually this feature was removed and so I had to bring myself into the 21st century and just adapt to touch typing with QWERTY.

    Wow, so you were double and tripple tapping the numpad? I guess there was no real t9 on the pc thing or?

    lgsa19 said:

    For my current project I am looking at the way in which we become accustomed to one method, whether it is qwerty, colemak, dvorak or another form of layout. I have re-stickered my keyboard and changed the settings to colmak/dvorak in an attempt to train my eye to the alternative layouts to qwerty and record how long this update takes for me to adapt to. By typing out the same passage I am looking at the speed difference and analysing the errors I am making, from which I hope to produce a visual piece of information.

    I don't use my eyes at all while typing, it's all muscle memory, so I still have all the keys still being there where they would be under qwerty. I do prefer completely black keys though.


    lgsa19 said:

    I would appreciate any comments anyone has on their own transition from the 'default' qwerty, and why the change has been beneficial. Some questions I have in mind are:

    Is the change in layout due to the type of work you are carrying out or your own preference?

    It's mainly my own preference, and I do type quite a bit at work, so I'd rather have a comfortable layout than one that isn't.

    lgsa19 said:

    Did you find your typing speed improved when switching from qwerty?

    No, but that wasn't my goal either, I'm at about the same speed as I was at qwerty now, and can burst a bit more, but my reason for changing was about comfort and not about speed, I mean you can be just as fast with qwerty, so that would be kind of a stupid reason, wouldn't it?

    lgsa19 said:

    How long did it take to transition to a new layout?

    A couple of weeks to get up to a livable speed, and then about 1½ month to get up to the same speed that I had with qwerty.

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    • Registered: 03-Jan-2018
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    Hello,

    Colemak(-CAW) typist here.

    lgsa19 said:

    Is the change in layout due to the type of work you are carrying out or your own preference?

    Well, both, kind of... I was in college when I first switched from QWERTY to Colemak. Due to the lot of typing (taking notes, typing essays etc.) I developed mild RSI in my hands, so I started to look for remedies—in this ‘quest’ I dived into the world of alternative keyboard layouts. I quickly came across Colemak and Dvorak, read much about both before eventually pulling the plug and going with Colemak. At some point I also switched to Dvorak temporarily, but wasn't satisfied, so I went back to Colemak.

    Now at work, I also type a lot and work with computers all the time, so it's really good not to have aching hands even after hours of constant typing.
    Also, I consider switching to Colemak as one of my best decisions in my life.

    lgsa19 said:

    Did you find your typing speed improved when switching from qwerty?

    After I actually took my time to learn to touch type on QWERTY, I was most of the time at about 60-65 WPM, reaching up to 70 WPM on better days. On Colemak-CAW I can easily surpass 75 WMP with >95% accuracy; ~85 on better days.

    lgsa19 said:

    How long did it take to transition to a new layout?

    Good question. I remember I started typing on Colemak in August 2014 and typed the thesis for my BA degree entirely on Colemak, which I finished in February 2015. If my memory is correct, then I learned to touch type at a comfortable speed of 50-55 WPM in about 1 and half month, gradually working my way from there.

    If you're interested in knowing more, you can read ‘my story’ here.

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    lgsa19 said:

    Is the change in layout due to the type of work you are carrying out or your own preference?

    I don't really understand the question. It's less to do with "type of work you do" than the language that you type. What you want is a keyboard layout that puts the most common letters that appear in your language in the easiest to access positions. You also want common combinations of letters to be placed logically, such that your typing flows naturally without awkward of stressful movements.

    It's only when you transition from Qwerty, that you realize how much you'd previously been hamstrung by using a non fit-for-purpose layout.

    I am a programmer, but studies show that even programmers spent a large proportion of their time typing English (emails, comments, documentation, etc), plus most computer languages are based on English anyway. For other heavy users of keyboards, e.g. authors, journalists, lawyers, the gains might be greater still. As a side note, although Colemak is designed for English, it still manages to be way better than Qwerty-based layouts for most other European languages too.

    lgsa19 said:

    Did you find your typing speed improved when switching from qwerty?

    Yes, but speed is not the main motivation. Ease of use and comfort are.

    lgsa19 said:

    How long did it take to transition to a new layout?

    Probably around two months to be basically usable, four months to be comfortable.

    If you're interested, I have tried to model the typing effort of various layouts here.

    Last edited by stevep99 (31-Jan-2018 15:58:50)

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

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    • From: Oslo, Norway
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    A glaswegian, eh. Nice!

    If you liked NumPad typing, then check out MessagEase. It's a modern and fast way of typing on a touch screen device, but it was actually developed for the old 10-key phone pads. Now you slide from one key to another instead of tapping them in succession, which is probably a lot better.

    Last edited by DreymaR (31-Jan-2018 16:43:27)

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

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    sotolf said:

    Wow, so you were double and tripple tapping the numpad? I guess there was no real t9 on the pc thing or?



    Yes! Sadly I was double and triple tapping a smart phone screen when I didn't really need to. I guess it was just habit :) and stupidity!

    Thank you all your helpful answers!

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    stevep99 said:

    I don't really understand the question. It's less to do with "type of work you do" than the language that you type. What you want is a keyboard layout that puts the most common letters that appear in your language in the easiest to access positions. You also want common combinations of letters to be placed logically, such that your typing flows naturally without awkward of stressful movements.

    It's only when you transition from Qwerty, that you realize how much you'd previously been hamstrung by using a non fit-for-purpose layout.

    Thanks Steve. I am trying to base my research on optimal layouts, so your reasons for switching from Qwerty are really useful to me. I'll definitely include your study on layouts so thank you!

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