Once in a while, I practice to improve my touch typing skills. Most of the time, I just find some online stuff or use KTouch. But today, I wanted to try something different. I always hear good things about the Dvorak keyboard layout — i.e., how it’s supposedly more efficient and more comfortable than the Qwerty layout. Being a curious person, I wanted to test this out.
So when I opened up KTouch, I selected the Dvorak lecture, instead of the typical Qwerty one. The first lessons were fairly easy. As I went through the lecture, I managed to keep a fairly high pace and accuracy – i.e., about 210 characters per minute with a 95% accuracy. About at the fifth or sixth lesson, I said to myself: “Wow, I must have been a Dvorak typist in another life.” I was really impressed how quickly I had learnt the basics of the layout and I was indeed starting to believe that the Dvorak layout was vastly superior to Qwerty.
Shortly after, I was sold. At this point, I was thinking how was going to remap my Emacs key bindings.
However, when I got to the tenth lesson, I found something strange, very strange. The letter ‘q’ on the Dvorak layout was in the upper row on the left — exactly where it is on the Qwerty layout.
I stopped typing for a second…
…and look at the keyboard displayed on the screen.
“asdf asdf asdf”
Oops! I had forgot the change the actual layout of my keyboard. So, I was still using Qwerty.
Now, I realize that I have been victim of what they call the “placebo effect”. This little anecdote has certainly thought me to be more careful, in the future, when trying something new sold has “better”.