Author Topic: Alternative layout that maintains QWERTY row profile and homing keys?  (Read 1475 times)

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Offline Zuology

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I have been starting to consider learning a more balanced layout, and am familiar with the various Dvorak, Colemak, and Workman layouts (not in actual use, but researched). However, I am wondering if there has been any exploration of a layout that would maintain compatibility with aftermarket keysets that wouldn't compromise row profiles (for sculpted sets) and homing key placements (F & J stay where they are), for maximum balance of aesthetics and functionality.

I might be verging on silliness to consider the balance of ergonomics and aesthetics for traditional keysets, but am wondering if there is a happy medium that wouldn't require uniform profile, blanks, or layout specific kits (colevrak, etc). I feel like it would make things worlds easier for those who have invested in good base keysets but want to work in a layout that isn't as left-hand heavy.

All feedback appreciated.
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Offline davkol

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Re: Alternative layout that maintains QWERTY row profile and homing keys?
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 30 April 2018, 01:12:36 »
Yes, it's silly, because one of the main features of optimized layouts is focus on the home row.

The first obvious problems are F and J. Neither is very common in most languages; in fact, J tends to be very uncommon.

The next problem is that QWERTY has one less letter on the home row: there's the semicolon instead. (Older variants and some localized versions like AZERTY have M there, but that's not the standard for keycap sets.)

Finally, in QWERTY many of the most common symbols are placed on very different rows, especially the top row (ERT, OIU) and bottom row (N); QWERTY honestly could have been worse than it is for such row jumps.. The most efficient minimal changes you can make to QWERTY involve moving some of those common keys (E, N or T) to the bottom row.

Those are just the basic things. Typing balance (stuff like same-finger ratio) and rhythm will still suck hard, while you'll break some default hotkeys in applications.

Offline JianYang

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 Just to expand on the above - if you change the row of a key, you limit yourself to only uniform profile keysets. Besides, the biggest problem with using anything other than Qwerty in the English-speaking countries, is that you make yourself incompatible with anything else. Sticking to Dvorak or something else supported by most OS's, you can at least change this with settings, without having to resort to custom layout configs. In short, if you want to use a better layout, try to stick to something that is at least near the standard.

And of course you should not have a need for legends anyway  :p

Online algernon

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Any layout can work with after-market keycap sets, maintain row profile and homing keys - as long as you restrict yourself to blank or symbolic keycaps. ;)

There are many advantages when you do this:
 - Your wallet will thank you.
 - You can optimize your layout to work for you, instead of the other way around.
 - You can change your layout anytime, with no key rearrangement necessary.