Everyone who has looked at a keyboard has wondered at some point or another, “Why are the keys arranged this way? Surely it must have something to do with efficiency and ergonomics, right?” Wrong!
The QWERTY keyboard was designed in the 1860s with one thing in mind — to reduce jamming in early typewriters.
The Dvorak /Duh-VOR-ack/ keyboard is a more ergonomic alternative to QWERTY designed by Dr. August Dvorak, an educational psychologist and professor of education at the University of Washington in Seattle. His keyboard was designed with emphasis on typist comfort, high productivity, and ease of learning.
Learning The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard
You could spend hours teaching yourself the Dvorak keyboard, but the fastest and easiest way to learn is with our online course. Here are some reasons to learn Dvorak with our program:
Letters are arranged to maximize hand alternation so one hand can be pressing a key while the other moves to the next one. Also, the Dvorak keyboard puts the most common letters on the home row (the row of keys where your fingertips rest when you are touch-typing), so 60-70% of the time, your fingers don't have to leave the home row. Compare that to 30-35% on QWERTY. No wonder some of the world's fastest typists use Dvorak.
Many people who switch do so for the increased comfort. People who have Repetetive Strain Injury (RSI) or carpal tunnel find relief because the Dvorak keyboard makes typing easier and more natural. The placement of vowels on the left-hand home row opposite the most common consonants means your hands alternate with nearly every keystroke. No more one-handed gymnastics (try typing sweater or reverberate)! The placement of the most common letters on the home row means your fingers travel about half the distance they would on QWERTY.
If you had typing class in high school or you've tried other typing programs, you probably remember exercises like "jfjfj," speed drills, and inane typing games. With this program, you'll be typing real words in two minutes and real sentences in five. Your speed is quietly measured as you work in order to chart your progress — not make you break out in a sweat!
It's okay to look!
We recommend durable labels for your keyboard so you can learn the positions of the keys and the proper fingers to use. At first, you'll hear the letters, words, and sentences spoken so you can look at the keyboard and focus on pressing the right key. As you become more comfortable with a group of letters, you'll be weaned away from looking at the keys.
Practice typing in real-world situations
Other typing programs don't let you use the backspace key, so you have to un-learn using it and then re-lean to use it outside the program. The exercises in our curriculum mimic real-world typing scenarios. You'll practice writing Word documents, emails, instant messages, blog posts, speeches, etc. Like in the real world of typing, mistakes don't count against you, but reducing them will increase typing speed.
Maintain your typing speed while learning
Can't afford to lose your ability to type while learning Dvorak? You won't have to. The curriculum includes practice on QWERTY so you maintain your existing typing speed while learning Dvorak. Yes, you can know both and effortlessly switch back and forth in your head! This ability is useful for the rare instances were you're working on a computer on which you can't or don't want to enable Dvorak, like at the library or a walk-up kiosk.
Switch keyboard modes on any computer with confidence
Our program not only teaches you how to type on the Dvorak keyboard, but we also teach you how to enable it on your computer, how to switch back and forth with a simple shortcut key, and how to activate it when using the computers of friends and family. We'll also show you how to use the Dvorak keyboard for typing but keep your shortcut keys in their original QWERTY positions.