Look at your keyboard. Do the letters in the top left corner spell Q W E R T Y? They probably do. Why is that? Simply put, QWERTY is the visually inspired name of the most popular keyboard arrangement in the world. Designed by Christopher Latham Sholes and sold to the E. Remington and Sons Co., QWERTY made its first appearance on typewriters in the 1870s.
Standardization and decades of worldwide muscle memory have made QWERTY second nature to most of us by now, but that doesn't mean that QWERTY keyboard alternatives are without merit. While other keyboard layouts are not as widely used as the QWERTY, different kinds of keyboards can be more natural for some people and provide specialized advantages for certain situations. Here are some cool alternative computer keyboards that offer a sometimes better set up than the old standby, QWERTY.
Dvorak Simplified Keyboard
The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard was patented by Dr. August Dvorak and his brother-in-law, Dr. William Dealey, in 1936. It was designed to minimize finger movement and facilitate faster typing rates than the standard QWERTY. The main difference in terms of layout is that for Latin letter languages such as English, Dvorak keyboards have more common letters in the middle, or home row, of keys.While the DSK has yet to replace the QWERTY keyboard, it is available on most modern operating systems, if you're looking to increase your words per minute score.
Workman is a keyboard based on the natural behaviors of the different digits on the hand. If you hold out your hands in a typing position, you'll notice our index fingers tend to curl inward while our middle and outer fingers tend to stretch outward. Workman was developed by coders who do a lot of typing with the goal of minimizing hand fatigue.
AZERTY gets its name from its particular arrangement of letters in its top left corner. Its exact origins are not known, but it first appeared as a 19th century alternative to typewriter layouts in France. Albert Navarre is credited with creating the 20th century version of AZERTY. Today, it is widely used by French and Belgian speakers throughout Europe.
PLUM is probably one of the easiest keyboards to learn typing on if you'd never encountered QWERTY. The square grid helps minimize hand twisting and the keys are arranged to help new typists learn even faster than QWERTY. PLUM also uses mnemonic devices in the keys arrangements to help with memorization. The home row keys read "readonthis." Brilliant!