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    Why I switched back to Colemak again

    • Started by triple_a
    • 5 Replies:
    • Reputation: 2
    • Registered: 17-Feb-2021
    • Posts: 8

    It has been 3 months now since I got into this alternative keyboard layout 'madness' :) and I am so glad that I did. My hands were sore after a keyboard practice session with 'QWERTY', but with Colemak i feel like i can go on for hours without pain.

    Colemak or Colemak-dh both are wonderful, however I will try to share my experience on why I chose Colemak vanilla in the end, in case it helps somebody else maybe.

    My initial intention was to decide on a layout and stick with it while leveraging other people's insights and past experiences. However, I've come to the conclusion that this is a highly subjective matter and keyboard layouts that look good on paper might feel different during daily usage.

    I started with Colemak then used another variant of Colemak that swaps D and P etc. I became good at it however, Colemak-DH seemed to get a lot of praise from people that had spent countless hours on researching this subject. So I moved on to Colemak Mod-DH to try it out and hoped to prove my doubts wrong.

    Here is my progress with Colemak-DH after practicing almost 40 hours on keybr.com :
    keybr.png

    I also practiced on MonkeyType almost 40 hours as well.
    English 100+ avg.
    Eng 1k 95+ avg.
    Eng 10k 90+ avg.

    My biggest issue with mod-DH was the constant movement of up and down between top and bottom rows. Even after I passed some speed threshold, this kept bothering me. After practicing and using it almost 100hrs, eventually I decided to go back to original Colemak which I felt more comfortable with.
    'D' and 'H' are pretty common in English and in my opinion it is more comfortable to keep them on the home row to help with fluidity. Since my hands are using home row more than any other row; it's easy to reach other rows without jumping around much. I know these kind of things were discussed many times before. I am just sharing my humble experience.

    I understand that this is highly subjective and I guess trying different things out might be the best way to help finding the answer.

    Cheers !

    Last edited by triple_a (26-Apr-2021 00:14:28)
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    • From: UK
    • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
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    Thanks for posting about your experience. You're right, the DH vs vanilla thing is largely subjective, with some people not minding having common keys in the centre-column, and others being highly averse to it. In the "DH" way of thinking, is there isn't really a traditional, straight home row (A<->T), but rather a sloping line that goes from A on the left to the roughly mid-point of T and D, and symmetrically equivalent on the right.

    This does have the knock-on effect of making the index-finger top row keys harder, which I think is probably the issue you were experiencing. On the left side, this isn't too bad since neither P nor B are common, but the right-side is trickier, with L being quite common. Ideally a less frequent key would be in that spot, but every layout has to make compromises somewhere. That said, HL/LH is not a common bigram, so in fact consecutive row jumps are still rare - the worst offender for this is probably LK!

    I wonder what you do about the C key in vanilla?

    Last edited by stevep99 (27-Apr-2021 14:12:02)

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

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    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 5,145

    For what it's worth, the two 220+ WPM Colemak typists are at different ends of the modding spectrum with Sophie using vanilla Colemak and Viper using a Colemak-CAWS variant! So speedwise at least, nothing's stopping you from selecting one or the other.

    It seems that people's ergonomic experience is a bit individual. Maybe their styles are different, maybe their fingers, I don't know. Find something that's good for you and enjoy!

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

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    stevep99 said:

    I wonder what you do about the C key in vanilla?

    I always use left middle finger to press 'C' whether it is vanilla or not. It's all about adjusting my wrist angle and hand position. They are both okay for me. In fact, I was a bit sceptical about the 'C' position with mod-dh at first; however after some time I got used to my wrists being symmetrical.

    While using mod-dh; my left hand fingers are unconsciously resting on a comfortable position somewhere between home and bottom row. You perfectly described this as a 'sloping line' and it makes reaching top row feel slightly cumbersome for me compared to vanilla. This was something I could only anticipate after using mod-dh for a while. Having said that; there may be some key combinations that mod-dh does better than vanilla, but in the end I decided on what I found more comfortable as a whole.

    @DreymaR : Thanks, I completely agree!

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    • From: Fairfax, Virginia
    • Registered: 27-Apr-2021
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    Once you go mak, you never go bak!

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    • From: UK
    • Registered: 14-Apr-2014
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    Once you go DH, you never go badh.

    Last edited by stevep99 (02-May-2021 15:29:04)

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

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