Sholes invented the mechanical typewriter. In order to prevent two keys stuck after hitting them rapidly, he designed the QWERTY layout.
Business schools and companies trained “touch typing” with the QWERTY keyboards.
E is the most frequently used vowel in the English alphabet.
T is the most frequently used consonant in the English alphabet.
To hit them, a touch typist has to move a left finger.
This led to claims such as
- The QWERTY keyboard is not ergonomic
- It is not suitable for efficient typing
- It could cause tendonitis and similar medical problems
Computers (desk tops laptops, pads, …) continue to use QWERTY because
- most people do not want to change their habits
- retraining is costly
Many computer users are not touch typists; some use the “hunt and peck” method using two fingers. They do not care about the ergonomics of the keyboard.
The 100 or so variants to replace QWERTY were not successful.
A few use ergonomic keyboards
- with QWERTY layout with two sections (e.g. laid out in V-shape)
- with non-QWERTY layout (e.g. DVORAK)
U Khin Maung Zaw (EC76) wrote :
In the early days, one of my leads really like Dvorak keyboard and used it on his desktops. One day we had an issue with one of the servers, and needed to logon to it to troubleshoot the root cause. [This was before the advent of the remote access.]
Even though we had the admin password, no one could logon to it, and the lead was on vacation for couple of weeks. We decided not to rebuild the server as it had some unique applications running on it and the issue was livable, waiting for him to come back. [He was the last person to logon to that server, so we assume he might have changed the password without telling the team.]
When he came back to work, we told him about the server, naturally he logged on to it to investigate. We asked him what the new password was, he denied he changed it at all.
Then we discovered he changed the keyboard to Dvorak while using it but did not switch it back.
The directive was issued across the board not to switch the keyboards on any servers, across all company data centers.