geekhack Community > Ergonomics

modified qwerty layout?


granola bar enthusiast:
I have been typing on QWERTY all my life and can usually type at a speed of around 110 WPM when typing out a post like this or on daily use but there is one thing that i absolutely despise about the layout, the P key. Whenever you have to type "people" or any word that contains the letter P you have to take your ring finger away from the home row completely and it makes for a very weird typing experience. After trying out colemak DH a few days back I completely gave up on it but recognized one thing, it's so much more comfortable to type on. And so after this, I have been experimenting with modifying the QWERTY layout to be more comfortable for me, so far I have only been typing on a standard QWERTY layout with the location of the ; to now be P and vice versa but I am planning on maybe making some minor key location swaps to make it more comfortable to type on. Does anyone have recommendations for the layout as I think I may swap to a new layout during Summer break, thanks!

If you want a layout with minimal changes, you could try something like Minimak.

The best "quick fix" to Qwerty IMO would be to have the most common consonants on the two home index finger position - which could be achieved with T-F and N-J swaps. But, on it's own, that does nothing to improve bigrams, and arguably makes TR worse, which leads to the need to have something like this, perhaps a viable minimal-changes layout:

--- Code: ---Q W E F P Y U I O ;
Z X C V B J M , . /
--- End code ---
Home "row" would be ASET NILR in this, longer middle fingers reaching up to the top row. Note we still have the dreaded DE and LO Qwerty same-finger bigrams though, but at least the most common keys are better positioned, at a cost of only 6 letter keys moved.

Minimal changes sound like a good idea, but if you're going to take the trouble to be non-standard, in all honesty you might as well go the whole hog and pick something fully optimized, and preferably, tried-and-tested by many happy users!

there are a bunch of alternate layouts, explore what’s out there or create your own.

Instead of trying to find effective swaps to make QWERTY more comfortable, I think that you should try Tarmak.

In short, Tarmak has 5 stages with different keyboard layouts that slowly transition from QWERTY to the Colemak layout. As Colemak is just 17 letters away from QWERTY, each layout only swaps 3-4 keys at a time, making it quite easy to learn without really messing up your muscle memory.

You can learn more about Tarmak here:

nice. thanks for the link. haven't heard of that one.


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