Now that I know at least three very smart people who use Dvorak keyboards (Andy, Iain, and Matt), I thought I might try one:


It’s been sitting in my office for a few days. Maybe blogging about it will make me give it a try?

7 replies on “Dvorak?”

Personally I think Dvorak is snake oil. It takes forever to learn it, it kills your productivity for weeks while you're learning, and in the end your mileage may vary in terms of comfort and speed.

You may get more success with Colemak however — it is much easier to learn for an existing qwerty typist and you could probably get a workable pace up with it in a week or so, but again I'm not entirely sure how much benefit you get in the long run.

What I found makes a big difference however is a split ergonomic keyboard. IMO you can't beat the Microsoft Natural 4000 keyboard — it is very comfortable and quite reasonably priced too.

Dvorak has been a big pain for me to learn. I was at 75wpm on qwerty but due to my non-traditional typing style I lost 80% of that speed when I started training on Dvorak and I learned the "right way" to tickle the keys.

Now, four months after I started, my Dvorak speed is around 45wpm and my qwerty needs training. I lost a great deal of productivity and I dealt with frustration daily.

I don't believe Dvorak to be a better system for writing code, which happens to be the most valuable typing that I do right now. I was able to code on qwerty at a speed close to my ability to think but now I have to wait for my hands to catch up and that can be frustrating and distracting.

On the bright side, my chronic typing fatigue is much less these days.

It's funny, I have to echo James… and here I thought I was the only one that used Colemak on an Ergo 4000.

I like Colemak over Dvorak for two reasons: Only two keys are swapped between hands (p to the left hand and e to the right), and the Z X C V B shortcuts are in the same place for easy cut/copy/paste.

That said, !QWERTY will always be a good choice.

I have tried soooo hard! But I keep failing at it.

It's all those command keys and programming shortcuts and other things that stuff me up.

If all I did was type in "prose" form, maybe, but us coder types never use a keyboard that way…

Or maybe I'm just making excuses.

(I'm not joking – I went as far as pulling all the keys off my Toshiba and laying them out again in Dvorak, but it now just drives me nuts!)

Boo hoo. And I was so sure it would be an amazing experience to type at the speed of thought 😦


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