Keyboards are probably the most used things in our lives currently. Whether it is a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, we use keyboards. But, have you ever wondered why the keyboard is not arranged in the alphabetical order? What led to the QWERTY keyboard design? Well, the reason is associated with the history of the typewriters.
Before the QWERTY keyboard layout was introduced, the inventors presented different options for placing the keys on the keyboards. Unfortunately, they didn’t work. But, what was the reason?
Typewriters in the early days:
When the manual typewriters were introduced, they had keys arranged in the alphabetical order. This alphabetical order resulted in people typing fast and jamming the mechanical keys on the typewriter.
Introduction of the QWERTY layout:
The recognized problems of the old typewriters made the invention of QWERTY keyboard layout possible.
Why is QWERTY popular:
- Slowed down the speed of users and prevent jamming.
- Bumps on the keyboard. Two keys on the keyboard – the letter ‘F’ and ‘J’ have a tiny horizontal bump at their bottom, to help in positioning the fingers while typing and making the process of typing easier.
Different types of layouts:
- The AZERTY keyboard is usually used in French-speaking countries across Europe and Africa. There are some switches like the Q for A and W for Z in the top line when you compare it with the QWERTY keyboard.
- Different Keys: In the second row of letters, on the right-hand side, the semicolon key is replaced with the M key. Holding down shift along with the marked key will give you a number.
- Colemak is amongst the most popular keyboard layouts for typing in English. It is designed for those who find the QWERTY layout uncomfortable but do not want to switch to a completely different layout altogether.
- It makes 17 changes to the QWERTY key layout and also gets rid of the Caps Lock key. It is replaced by a second backspace key, good for those who make a lot of mistakes while typing.
- Dr August Dvorak and Dr William Dealey patented Dvorak Simplified Keyboard layout. It is claimed to reduce the distance travelled by the fingers for reaching letters.
- There are options in Windows, macOS, GNU/Linux, Android, Chrome OS, and BSD to switch to the Dvorak layout.
- In the Dvorak keyboard layout, more than half of the strokes are right-handed while the QWERTY layout makes people use their left hands more.
- Another version of the tried-and-tested QWERTY layout. QWERTZ is not necessarily bound to one single layout.
- The only difference from the QWERTY keyboard is that the Y and Z keys are swapped.
- This slightly tweaked version of the regular QWERTY keyboard is used predominantly in countries of central Europe including Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, and others.
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