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.