I have put the layouts in my analyzer to compare.
Calling the proposals "Shai1" and "Shai2":
Layout same-finger score (lower better)
Shai1 1.67% 1.720
Shai2 1.67% 1.716
Colemak 1.52% 1.784
Obligatory caveat: Obviously analyzers are somewhat subjective, and this one penalizes the centre column positions. So it's to be expected that these proposals would score better than Colemak. Certainly from my experience the Qwerty M position is an excellent spot for H in the case where E is at right-middle-finger home. These proposals are a somewhat bigger departure from Qwerty than Colemak (one of Colemak's selling points), but I would say the benefit of reduced centre-column usage more than makes up for it. So, in case I sounded overly negative previously, let me say I do think these layouts do look on the face of it to be a big improvement over Colemak.
I wanted to just talk about the "Shai2" one a bit more, since and you mentioned it was DH-like, and it has the ZXCD pattern. But just re-reading the comments above, I got the impression you might have misunderstood how Mod-DH and its implementation of the Angle Mod is supposed to work...
Compared to Mod-DH:
* Reduces usage of the QWERTY 'B' position
The Angle Mod makes some shortcuts very strainful to use
..prioritises the QWERTY 'V' position like Mod-DH
If you hit C with the index finger, you're more like to overwork your index finger. And I think it makes sense to have consistent fingering regardless if you're using a staggered or non-staggered keyboard..
So... the recommended ISO configuration is this, and for ANSI is this. Therefore, on ISO, no alpha key is assigned to the Qwerty B position, and on ANSI, only a very rare letter (Z) is. The idea is that the traditional fingering scheme should not be used, and this is baked into the layout design. The shortcuts if anything are less strainful, because the inward curling motion is easier, and (for those that use a one-handed technique), Z X C are closer to left control. Note, in Mod-DH, it's the Qwerty C key that is prioritized (not V), and V is unchanged from Qwerty anyway. With the Angle Mod, you are using the fingers you are supposed to (i.e. middle for C), but just with a more comfortable technique. The Angle Mod also makes it easier to transition to a non-staggered board, since it makes a row-staggered board effectively closer to an ortho one, and the fingering is consistent between staggered and non-staggered (albeit except the minor ANSI Z issue), as you can see from this matrix layout diagram.
So having said my piece on that, the thing about Shai2 that I find intriguing, is if you apply the Angle Mod to it. You then get a super-comfortable D (as with Mod-DH), but also a slightly better M position! I'm personally highly skeptical about the K and V, but I do think there could be merit in the P and M locations you've proposed. I might think about that a bit more. That said, I'm very happy with the DH mod as currently implemented, as I haven't really had problems with ME/MI and the like, and aren't really up for trying out something new - I think we're talking about minuscule (and subjective) alternatives here. And since you don't really agree with the Angle Mod, I guess it would be going down a path that doesn't appeal to you anyway.
For users who are attached to the traditional fingering scheme on row-staggered boards, and want ZXCV in place, I think Shai1 is potentially great alternative to Colemak. But of course, I don't have any practical experience with it, and aren't likely to, so I guess I'll shut up now and see what others think instead :P
Last edited by stevep99 (08-Nov-2020 17:24:21)