- Reputation: 28
- Registered: 03-Feb-2018
- Posts: 118
I believe my first proper experience with Colemak was on the 28/01/2018. I had just finished a two hour session on this typing trainer and my brain was aching. I went to work thinking in the back of my head what I had just done, it must've been so mentally exhausting that I wasn't thinking straight. I had just been overwriting circuits in my brain that have been there for years! No wonder!
The day after I begin practising the layout more. I begin to average 10-13 WPM on 10FastFingers, my head still completely exhausted with each keypress. Compare that to my 70-80 average on QWERTY! I spend ages doing continuous typing tests just to get as much practise in as I can. The reason I stick around is that the process of learning something this new makes me feel great, and I notice that every time I go to bed, I wake up with a 7-8 WPM increase. Even at 10 WPM I knew my fingers were moving around a lot less than QWERTY, and I was beginning to pick up on these lovely finger rolls I kept doing.
What really helped was Klavaro, a touch typing tutor that taught me how to touch type with the new layout. Vital! It was awkward at first, but if my fingers were moving around less before, they really weren't moving at all now. I began to notice my QWERTY muscle memory disappear, going down to 40 WPM at one point (effectively halved) which was shocking, but all the while I was getting more confident with Colemak.
Halfway through this process, I began posting on these forums, at first calling for help to create a standalone Wikipedia article and then to make a new Discord server. By this point I knew that Colemak was the way I wanted to go for the long term. As righteous as it sounds, I want to make sure as many members of the public know about the layout as possible - the more adoption, the greater chance I will be taken seriously in say, a place of work where I'd want to change my layout on a locked down system. The more people who know, the greater chance Colemak will be included by default in Windows! The more people who know, the greater chance I'll be able to buy some high quality custom mechanical keyboard caps for the layout (I've been searching!). Obviously we'll never surpass QWERTY usage, but we could definitely surpass Dvorak usage, perhaps even by a lot. Public awareness is a great thing for Colemak users.
My current typing speed on Colemak is 55-60 WPM by typeracer, and 65 WPM by 10FastFingers. What is more impressive is that all of my QWERTY muscle memory has come back in nearly full strength. I can swap between the two by using my awful old QWERTY typing method I came up with over years, and switch to real touch typing when I want to use Colemak. Even on a locked down system it looks like I'd be fine!
In 20 days I went from completely no knowledge to 55-60 WPM - so I'm really optimistic about the future with the layout. I'd highly recommend Colemak to pretty much anyone who has time to invest, especially to those fast QWERTY typists who don't use proper technique. I switched cold turkey, so I have no real knowledge of the Tarmak layouts, it's just what worked for me. It's painful at first, but it's well worth it. I hope Colemak continues to spread like the plague be adopted - it's made typing so much nicer for me and other typists.
Plug for the Discord server! If you're new to the layout like I recently was, you might find it useful to talk with other users about their experiences, as well as in general keyboard related things. On the side, I noticed this by Shai on the main page. If he's reading this, and the plan to move away from MediaWiki isn't happening, I'd be happy to maintain the wiki if needed. At the very least, adopting the Vector skin for the website (the default for Wikipedia) might make things look more modern.