The Dvorak Keyboard layout was created in the 1930s by Dr. August Dvorak and his brother in-law Dr. William Dealey. The two created the layout in order to alleviate problems with the popular QWERTY keyboard configuration (the very configuration still in use today by hundreds of millions of typists worldwide).
The problems they identified with the QWERTY layout (and sought to fix with their alternate arrangement) included the fact that many English letter combinations required that the user jump over the home row, most letters are typed with the left hand, the letter distribution over the three rows of keys is irregular and unbalanced, and many common words are typed with a single hand instead of spreading the load across all the fingers.
The Dvorak layout was successful in solving these problems by carefully rearranging the keys to allow for more efficient typing with less strain–there are 1,200 words in English that require the user to jump the home row on a QWERTY keyboard, for example, but less than a handful on the Dvorak layout. Despite the ergonomics and efficiency of the Dvorak layout it was introduced half a century after the QWERTY layout and given the number of typists and typing instruction schools firmly set on existing layout, it failed to gain much traction outside of specialized use and dedicated fans.
- By Jason Fitzpatrick on 03/16/13