Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Time for a new keyboard ?

The QWERTY keyboard was invented in 1872 when the typewriter was mechanical. Through trial and error it was discovered to be the best way to put keys together so they did not jam when typing. Having grown up in the typewriter age, I have actually experienced this problem when two mechanical arms came together at the same time. But now word processors are electronic. Is there a better design ? Should we go back to laying them out alphabetically ? Are there mathematical algorithms that have been used to get us to a better keyboard layout that allows us to type faster ?

One argument may be that we cannot afford to go up against the installed base ? As I move to typing with one finger on our iPhones lest we drop them (as opposed to the much easier blackberry) , I believe there is room to rethink this keyboard because on the iPhone, for example we could choose our keyboard layouts.

In fact if no one has done it, I woud propose an iPhone app that has a customizable keyboard one can use. Let's "test" if there is a market.

PS: There is a good article on DVORAK keyboards on wikipedia. Click here.

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