Keyboard Standardization

In 1870, the QWERTY keyboard was introduced as the standardization for typewriters. The inventor of this keyboard, Christopher Sholes, was challenged to create a device with “an easily understandable interface with the complicated technology of ink, type bars, levers, and springs.”

The QWERTY layout “stresses the left hand, forces jumps to the top row and has very uneven finger loading.” When there were typing competitions, the letters would get jammed in the typewriter when it was in alphabetical order. Sholes’ layout may slow down the speed, but it decreases the hamming and allows for a higher functioning typewriter.

In recent years, the Dvorak keyboard seems to make more sense with the English language because “all five vowels and four most common consonants are on the home row, placed to maximize hand alternations.” Though this layout can be used with some processors,  it was too late for Dvorak to become the standard because QWERTY was compatible to most typewriters and typists.

Even though QWERTY is here to stay, for now, there have been thoughts on how to create a better keyboard, such as: “alternating hands” as equally as possible, order in which to “load” rows goes “home…top…bottom,” and “avoid difficult movements.”

Standardization aside, which layout do you think would be more efficient?

Baker, Nick. “Why Do We All Use Qwerty Keyboards?” BBC News. BBC, 11 Aug. 2010. Web. 3 Nov. 2012. <>.

McGovern, Farrell. “Why a QWERTY Keyboard?” Hardware and Environmental Factors, 1992. Web. 1 Nov. 2012. <>.

This entry was posted in From the Web. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.