On keyboard layouts

By | 2007-05-22

Typing hardSomebody at the office played a joke on me. This morning I found my keyboard with 2 exchanged keys: the “Y” and the “I”. It was interesting however. I tried to work without putting them back to their original positions, and the result was quite surprising: if I typed without looking at the keyboard, I did it well; but if I looked at it (even for just a second), I started typing incorrectly. And this is quite dangerous if you use VIM and try to “Ynsert”. So finally I’ve moved them to the correct positions.

But are the keys of the keyboard in the best positions? Of course not.

The current keyboard layout is inherited from the mechanical typewriters, where they configured the key positions trying to avoid hits between the arms of every character. Speaking about keyboard layouts, the Wikipedia has some information about them which is worth a visit. Specially I suggest reading about Dvorak Simplified Keyboard, which is an optimized one for speed and ergonomy (reducing fatigue). And don’t miss the one-hand versions!!