Author Topic: Thinking about Dvorak  (Read 813 times)

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Offline knightjp

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Thinking about Dvorak
« on: Mon, 08 July 2019, 06:36:50 »
I've been thinking of switching to Dvorak for quite a while though. I have been using QWERTY for a while now. I've noticed that for me, coming back to QWERTY is not that bad as I believe that the layout is so imprinted in my brain, my fingers already know where each letter is.
And I think that for those who choose to use an alternative layout and still keep the keys in the standard layout, this will be the case. The image of QWERTY is just imprinted in the brain because every time you look at your keyboard, that is what you see.

However I've noticed that I'm not making much improvement with QWERTY anymore. While others are getting over 70 WPM, I'm just barely scratching 35 WPM. Its slow. Too slow to be taken seriously.

I noticed that I was far more comfortable and a bit faster when using Dvorak. However I switched to QWERTY because I wanted to be able to type fast on anything without getting too hung up on layouts.

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Re: Thinking about Dvorak
« Reply #1 on: Mon, 08 July 2019, 06:54:22 »
Have you looked into Colemak?
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Re: Thinking about Dvorak
« Reply #2 on: Mon, 08 July 2019, 07:43:21 »
I've been thinking of switching to Dvorak for quite a while though. I have been using QWERTY for a while now. I've noticed that for me, coming back to QWERTY is not that bad as I believe that the layout is so imprinted in my brain, my fingers already know where each letter is.
And I think that for those who choose to use an alternative layout and still keep the keys in the standard layout, this will be the case. The image of QWERTY is just imprinted in the brain because every time you look at your keyboard, that is what you see.

However I've noticed that I'm not making much improvement with QWERTY anymore. While others are getting over 70 WPM, I'm just barely scratching 35 WPM. Its slow. Too slow to be taken seriously.

I noticed that I was far more comfortable and a bit faster when using Dvorak. However I switched to QWERTY because I wanted to be able to type fast on anything without getting too hung up on layouts.

At first, you may notice a huge slowdown in your typing speed. This is perfectly normal, I had this when learning qwerty.

To get as fast as me it takes Years of practice . I practiced every day, for two hours straight, competing against other typists as well as doing exercises on websites.

That's probably why you would see over 1000 typing tests and at least 10 per day on my 10fastfingers typing profile.

Don't worry, you will get there soon. Have motivation and courage!

Offline equalunique

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Re: Thinking about Dvorak
« Reply #3 on: Mon, 08 July 2019, 12:14:07 »
Learning Dvorak has been a great experience for me, but YMMV.

I started out with blank keycaps on a WASD CODE V2 keyboard set to hardware-Dvorak mode. The blank keycaps increase the learning curve quite a bit, but in the end, I feel like they were super helpful. I've been typing Dvorak for almost 3 years now and rarely have to look down at a keyboard. Dvorak legends are nice, but the truth is I only want them for vanity - I definitely don't need them. Most keyboards I type Dvorak on now days all have Qwerty legends, and they don't mess me up at all. I owe that to starting out with blank keycaps. At least, if you're starting out, I recommend using blank keycaps on the alpha keys & keeping your modifier keys labeled.

All I used to train myself was GNU Typist. After the first week, I had completed all of the Dvorak courses, and had basically memorized all I needed to know. It's not hard to memorize where each letter is in relation to your fingers on the home row. The hard part is the muscle memory. Honestly for the first month it took me 10x longer to write basic emails because even though I knew where all the letters were supposed to be, I literally had to think about it each time I went to type anything. It took a few months to get back to 60 WPM. I also stuck with it - didn't switch back to Qwerty for anything serious besides entering in a few passwords, games, etc. My productivity took a hit in the beginning and it was super frustrating at times, especially when engaging in real-time chats & hot email threads.

Personally, I feel like Dvorak is easier to type with than Qwerty. I also suspect that it is easier to type with than Colemak. I mean, how difficult can it be when you have almost every vowel underneath your left hand's fingers, with the other two being just one key away? When I would hear people say that Dvorak is harder, I generally didn't believe them, and thought that maybe they didn't stick with it for long enough, or maybe didn't use an effective learning strategy/tool, etc. I have sincerely believed that if one applies themselves, then they will excel with it, and even find it super comfortable to use. Recently, however, my views have changed, not about ease of typing, but in regards to shortcuts.

(Background: For several years I have had what's easiest to describe as an issue with my right shoulder, so about 4 years now have been trying to become more ambidextrous in various things. One of the things I do, which I can do easily since I don't game much, is primarily use my left hand for mouse movement. I use trackballs most of the time now, but back when I was learning Dvorak, it was a simple mouse that wasn't sculpted in a way to favor any particular hand (i.e., ambidextrous). On top of that, I also use business-style laptops A LOT which all feature some variaton of the IBM/Lenovo TrackPoint mouse, which is also pretty much ambidextrous. The only time I ever use a right hand for mouse operation is when I'm occasionally gaming, which also happens to be when I switch back to Qwerty too.)

Here's what I overlooked: On a Qwerty row-staggered board, the Z (undo), X (cut), C (copy), and V (paste) keys are all easy to reach with your left hand. On a row-staggered Dvorak board, these keys are spaced apart from each other, but still easy to hit all with your right hand. If you are like most people and use your right hand to operate your mouse, then using these shortcuts with Dvorak is probably going to be a giant PITA. If you're weird like me, and are using either a TrackPoint or left-handed mouse, then you probably won't even notice an issue. As much as I love Dvorak, I have to admit that this must be the nail in the coffin for a lot of people's opinion of it. Also note that I said "row-staggered Dvorak board" - it's a little further to reach when the board ortho or column-staggered; and admittedly awkward when the board is a split one.

Placement of the Z, X, C, and V keys optimized for right-hand mouse usage is not just a benefit of Qwerty, but also Colemak & Colemak variants too. Same goes for the Mac-oriented Workman layout, the elaborate German/English-oriented Neo layout, fully-optimized Carpal X, and probably others too.

Regardless of what layout you decide to go with, there is one advantage that you'll gain which I think is very important. Most of us start out hunting and pecking with Qwerty. We tend to learn poor typing habits in the beginning and a small percentage of us go on to learn correct touch typing techniques. Learning the techniques is different however from using them in practice, especially when years of hard-to-drop habits come creeping back. Especially if you start out learning with blank keycaps, whatever layout it ends up being, you will be doing probably the most significant thing you've ever done to drop any bad habits that you may have picked up in your Qwerty days. Unless you have been really serious in your Qwerty touch typing discipline, you will probably stand to gain a huge improvement.

Also, the week after I started typing in Dvorak, everything I typed out here would probably have taken a couple hours to type out.
« Last Edit: Mon, 08 July 2019, 12:31:11 by equalunique »

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Re: Thinking about Dvorak
« Reply #4 on: Mon, 08 July 2019, 12:27:26 »
I tried switching to Colemak for awhile - I haven't given up on it, but it has become much less of a priority for me at this point.  I can type plenty fast on QWERTY as it is, there's really no need for a different layout unless it improves ergonomics.  Also helps to be able to use any keyboard without needing to remind myself how to type on QWERTY.  :P

I will say, at 35 wpm on QWERTY, you've got quite a lot of potential with that layout before moving on to more optimized layouts for typing speed.  If you know you want to learn another layout at some point, go for it now anyway since it won't make a big difference, but I wouldn't look to the layout as the main source of your slowness.  I suspect that if you practice a bit more and get proficient at QWERTY, you can achieve very reasonable speeds with relative ease.  :thumb:

Online shadowku

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Re: Thinking about Dvorak
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 08 July 2019, 12:46:02 »
I've thought about switching to Dvorak or Colemak but it's just such a hassle since I have so many keyboards and laptops, and they're all somewhat shared with my wife who is not going to switch with me.
If I'm just taking my time when typing, I'm averaging about 90 WPM and I can get 120+ if I'm just typing text, which isn't too often since I'm a developer.
I want to try Dvorak and Colemak to see if I can type faster consistently.



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Offline rxc92

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Re: Thinking about Dvorak
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 09 July 2019, 01:56:01 »
At first, you may notice a huge slowdown in your typing speed. This is perfectly normal, I had this when learning qwerty.

To get as fast as me it takes Years of practice . I practiced every day, for two hours straight, competing against other typists as well as doing exercises on websites.

That's probably why you would see over 1000 typing tests and at least 10 per day on my 10fastfingers typing profile.

Don't worry, you will get there soon. Have motivation and courage!
 
 :eek:  What is your profile? Are you a speedster? 👀 
 
OT: Dvorak took me about a month to learn quite well, and I managed to hit 100 wpm in about a month (after being below that in QWERTY). It's definitely learnable, but takes practice as things do.

Offline Altis

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Re: Thinking about Dvorak
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 10 July 2019, 22:23:42 »
If you're only at 35 WPM with QWERTY, you might get back to that within a day or two switching layouts. Though I'm not sure the layout is the culprit, but it won't hurt to try another. The others are almost certainly more practical for English typing.

My biggest concern would be in using other keyboards that are not set to that layout and having to mentally go between. I haven't experienced it myself, but I fear it could be difficult to switch between the two.
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Re: Thinking about Dvorak
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 11 July 2019, 17:00:40 »
I can get 121 WPM with qwerty. So i am pretty sure its not only the layout. The layout may not be optimal but you can definitely type faster then 35 WPM with it...
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Offline rxc92

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Re: Thinking about Dvorak
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 12 July 2019, 20:14:37 »
If you're only at 35 WPM with QWERTY, you might get back to that within a day or two switching layouts. Though I'm not sure the layout is the culprit, but it won't hurt to try another. The others are almost certainly more practical for English typing.

My biggest concern would be in using other keyboards that are not set to that layout and having to mentally go between. I haven't experienced it myself, but I fear it could be difficult to switch between the two.
 
 
Sorry for OT, but how do you like your 30g domes compared to 45g? I never got a chance to try anything other than 45 and 55g

Offline Altis

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Re: Thinking about Dvorak
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 13 July 2019, 02:33:10 »
 
Sorry for OT, but how do you like your 30g domes compared to 45g? I never got a chance to try anything other than 45 and 55g

I actually enjoy using them, though with mixed feelings at times (I'm like that with every switch  :p ). You must be a good typist as it's easy enough to press an adjacent key. I daily stock MX Reds so I'm pretty used to being precise with my typing due to light switches.

One nice thing is that I get very little fatigue using it as your fingers can just float across it. I found 55g Topre way too heavy for anything but small bursts of typing, and 45g is generally my favorite switch overall. Contrary to what I had read, the 30g don't feel quite linear and have enough of an elongated hump to make it a bit less prone to accidental keystrokes.
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Offline rxc92

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Re: Thinking about Dvorak
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 13 July 2019, 04:12:06 »
 
Sorry for OT, but how do you like your 30g domes compared to 45g? I never got a chance to try anything other than 45 and 55g

I actually enjoy using them, though with mixed feelings at times (I'm like that with every switch  :p ). You must be a good typist as it's easy enough to press an adjacent key. I daily stock MX Reds so I'm pretty used to being precise with my typing due to light switches.

One nice thing is that I get very little fatigue using it as your fingers can just float across it. I found 55g Topre way too heavy for anything but small bursts of typing, and 45g is generally my favorite switch overall. Contrary to what I had read, the 30g don't feel quite linear and have enough of an elongated hump to make it a bit less prone to accidental keystrokes.
 
 
That's pretty cool to hear! I usually hear people disparaging the lighter switches, but as a heavy typist myself, I found myself liking mostly lighter switches too. I bought a board with MX Greens once and returned those within a week, haha.

Offline knightjp

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Re: Thinking about Dvorak
« Reply #12 on: Sun, 14 July 2019, 06:19:12 »

Personally, I feel like Dvorak is easier to type with than Qwerty. I also suspect that it is easier to type with than Colemak.

From my 2 years with Colemak, I noticed this too. I found that I gained more speed and faster results with Dvorak than with Colemak. I guess it was the hand alteration. It was far more comfortable for me than Colemak.

With regards to the shortcuts, Dvorak is simply no picnic and if you are used to it on QWERTY, then you're not going to enjoy yourself very well on Dvorak.
My trick with the shortcuts on Dvorak was to use my left hand. If you look at the Dvorak layout, ZXCV are shifted to the right. It makes sense to move the mouse to the left and use the right hand; but I noticed that it puts my hand in an awkward position if I have to use Windows. On MacOS it is fine.
So my trick is to still use my left hand.. I use the mouse with my right hand. On Windows put my thumb on the right CTRL and use my pinky and my ring finger for the various letters. It is quite comfortable.
Anyone using Dvorak, rather than shifting mice to the left, etc. I would ask that you try this first.
« Last Edit: Sun, 14 July 2019, 06:24:15 by knightjp »

Offline rxc92

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Re: Thinking about Dvorak
« Reply #13 on: Sun, 14 July 2019, 07:25:06 »

Personally, I feel like Dvorak is easier to type with than Qwerty. I also suspect that it is easier to type with than Colemak.

From my 2 years with Colemak, I noticed this too. I found that I gained more speed and faster results with Dvorak than with Colemak. I guess it was the hand alteration. It was far more comfortable for me than Colemak.

With regards to the shortcuts, Dvorak is simply no picnic and if you are used to it on QWERTY, then you're not going to enjoy yourself very well on Dvorak.
My trick with the shortcuts on Dvorak was to use my left hand. If you look at the Dvorak layout, ZXCV are shifted to the right. It makes sense to move the mouse to the left and use the right hand; but I noticed that it puts my hand in an awkward position if I have to use Windows. On MacOS it is fine.
So my trick is to still use my left hand.. I use the mouse with my right hand. On Windows put my thumb on the right CTRL and use my pinky and my ring finger for the various letters. It is quite comfortable.
Anyone using Dvorak, rather than shifting mice to the left, etc. I would ask that you try this first.
 
 
Don't get me started on how many damn times I've closed an important tab when I was trying to paste something..

Offline knightjp

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Re: Thinking about Dvorak
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 15 July 2019, 02:59:35 »
Don't get me started on how many damn times I've closed an important tab when I was trying to paste something..
I admit that did happen to me a couple of times when I was using Dvorak, but not only a couple of times. I didn't happen often enough for me to call it a issue for me.
I guess each one has a different idea. I will say that if I was using Dvorak and I had a Kinesis Advantage, then I would definitely choose to use the mouse on the left. With a standard keyboard, the mouse on the right is the way to go and using my thumb / pinky for shortcuts.
That is what I do for CTRL + P on QWERTY for printing at the office. Its comfortable.