The QWERTY keyboard: designed to be inefficient?
The QWERTY keyboard: designed to be inefficient? The theory goes that the original QWERTY keyboard, designed by Christian Latham Sholes back in the 1860s was actually designed to be inefficient. Typists needed slowing down as the early delicate machinery of the typewriters were prone to jamming. In fact, this is an urban myth, as “er” is the fourth most common letter combination that typists would use.
Mass production Sholes struck a deal with Remington to manufacture typewriters. Remington had been a gun manufacturer but after the conclusion of the Civil War they were looking to diversify. Sales of 100,000 QWERTY typewriters ensured that the keyboards became well-established. With considerable business acumen, Remington offered low-cost tuition for typists to establish their machines.
A better system? In the 1930s Dr August Dvorak developed a new keyboard which was allegedly faster for users. Whether it was faster is open to doubt. However, the world had learnt to type using QWERTY and it had no plans to change.
Time for change? In the 21st century, we are all keyboard users, and the inefficiencies of the QWERTY system make little sense when we use tablet and phone keyboards that will not jam. The KALQ keyboard, designed by university researchers, claims to allow an increase of speed of up to 34%, particularly for users who text with their thumbs. But will we, people ever abandon QWERTY?
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