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Was Dvorak worth it?

Well, after a bit of persistence, I’ve finally got to a realistic speed using the Dvorak keyboard layout. Maximum recorded was around 76wpm using the characters per minute divided by 5 rule (see this Wikipedia article.) I probably would have reached a faster speed sooner if I had cut out using QWERTY all together and forced myself upon Dvorak, but that just wasn’t possible when I had Uni and work requiring that stuff be typed sooner rather than later. That said, switching between QWERTY and Dvorak, but using Dvorak whenever possible, has got me to a reasonable speed in just under 2 months. I’m now using Dvorak where possible, and am still hoping to get my speed to the high 80’s, as that’s where my QWERTY speed was before I started Dvorak (interestingly, because I used a particular speed test website to measure my Dvorak speed so often, I actually can’t use QWERTY on it, I keep trying to type in Dvorak, but only on that website, so it’s really hard to compare the speeds.)

So, the question has to be asked, was it worth it? Well, I’m still hoping that it is, but because I was doing the whole exercise for fun and geekyness of it, it doesn’t bother me if it isn’t. I think I still need to use it for another month or two before the benefits will start to show, the biggest of which will hopefully a reduction of RSI in my wrists (it only comes about occasionally, so it’s too early to call if it has made a difference,) and maybe surpass my old QWERTY typing speed.

If you’re interested in learning it for fun or out of curiosity, the I would definitely recommend it. As for learning it to type faster, well, that’s yet to be seen. I’m at a reasonable speed, but I’m still not as fast as my QWERTY speed, though it seems as though I’m still getting faster, so there is a possibility that I will be faster. There are just as many websites that say it will improve your speed as there are ones that say there aren’t really any beneifts, so hopefully in a month or two I’ll be able to post from my own experience whether or not it has made me a faster typist overall (and whilst just me is a very, very small sample, I don’t really have the resources to get a bigger sample.)

So, I’ll re-post in another two months and see how I am there, but two months in and I could quite easily use Dvorak all the time if I needed to.

And yes, I did type this post in Dvorak. It’d be a bit ironic if I was saying how far I’ve come with learning it and that I can type at a good speed, and typed the post using QWERTY.

Learning Dvorak

So, as a challenge to myself, I thought that I’d set myself the challenge of learning the dvorak keyboard layout. That also means that this post may be the longest I’ve taken considering it’s length. It’d be a bit silly to write about learning dvorak using the qwerty layout, wouldn’t it now? So yes, to type all that I just wrote took about 5 minutes… I could possibly do faster if I wanted too, but I think accuracy is very important when learning a new keyboard layout.

So I will continue to post as I go. So far I can get to about 25 wpm, and it’s really hard to resist the temptation to go back to QWERTY just to get things typed faster!

Update 9th June 2011:
40 words

Update 13th June 2011:
47 words

Almost reached the 50 mark (which is described as a “practical typing speed”). It would be nice to get to 60 by the end of the month. As a comparison, my qwerty typing speed before I started learning dvorak was around 80wpm (though because of visual queues, I can no longer type qwerty on the touch typing website I use, I get around 30wpm when I try)

Update 14th June (at 12:30AM):
51 words

Well, I made it to 50. It did take a few tries, but I am definitely getting faster. Can’t wait until I hit 60. That will be close enough to my old speed such I won’t be able to justify going back to QWERTY just to type something faster.

Update 21st June:
56 words

I am regularly getting above 50 wpm now (last post took a few tries to get above the 50 mark.) Hoping to get to the 60 mark soon!

Update 22nd June:
59 words
I got one word wrong, which bought me down to 59. Though I got 328 cpm, which is actually a more accurate measurement, because the length of words doesn’t matter as much. That said, I’ve definitely increased my speed.

Update 2nd July:
58 words
On the face of it I haven’t improved, but I did 346cpm this time, unlike 328cpm. Characters per minute is a much more accurate measurement. Technically wpm is supposed to be (characters per minute) / 5, though the website I am using to measure and track me speed just counts words, which is wrong.

Update 21st July:
64 words
366 cpm

Update 31st July:
381 cpm (apparently 62 words, but it’s better than last update. WPM on the website I’m using is deceptive. 381 cpm is about 76 wpm)