It has now been over a month since I started my attempts to learn the Dvorak layout and I have now not only reached the speed that I was at with QWERTY before I changed but have surpassed it.
Week 4 and 5
At the end of week 4 I reached a typing speed of 32 words per minute which means that I have accomplished the first goal that I had set out to achieve and have even surpassed my QWERTY typing speed by 2 words per minute. My next goal is to reach a speed of 40 words per minute within the second month. At the end of week 5 my typing speed is at 35 words per minute. Although the speed at which I am improving has slowed this was not entirely unexpected. But that being said I have found that many of the claims that were made about the Dvorak layout to be true, at least for me. Below are some of the things that I have discovered.
While I have not yet finished my experiment I have learned enough to come to a conclusion on most of the clams that are made about the Dvorak layout and some of the worries that people have.
1 ) Time it takes to learn
This I will address in two part s first the time it takes to learn the layout of the keys. for me at least it was not long at all, as I stated in an earlier post it was less than a day to learn the key placement and that was without any keyboard training games. It was also a lot shorter time than it took me to learn the QWERTY layout for the first time but this could be due to the fact that I already knew a keyboard layout when starting to learn Dvorak and had been typing for years. The second part is how long it took to become useful with the layout. This may differ depending on what each person considers useful and how much typing the person learning the layout does, but for me I would say after the second week when I had build up a reasonable speed and muscle memory was less of a problem allowing me to type effectively.
2 ) Time it takes to get back to your normal speed
This one is a bit more difficult to give an accurate conclusion for as it will vary from person to person but from my experience it is possible to to achieve it in a month which is confirming what others that have attempted this have said. Although this may vary depending on how much typing you do and your initial typing speed.
3 ) Retaining QWERTY layout skills
This is something that I found very interesting and while I can’t say what would happen if you used Dvorak exclusively I can say that all that is required is a few hours a week to retain your QWERTY skills. While the initial stages of switching between them was a challenge at first after a month I can switch between them easily.
4 ) Increased typing speed
When it comes to increases in typing speed it would appear that there is some truth to that claim as once I was up to speed with the Dvorak layout I was a little faster than I was with the QWERTY layout (30 on QWERTY and 35 on Dvorak). But that is only the beginning as my typing speed is still increasing. While I can not say for sure if it is due to the hours of typing I have been doing or the layout that I am using all I can say is that I am still getting faster.
5 ) Make less errors
This is a hard one to come to a conclusion on at this time as so far although I have not mentioned it until now my error rate is about that of when I used the QWERTY keyboard. But I have a feeling that this error rate will decrease as I do more typing as the vast amount of errors being made are due to hitting the key beside the one I was intending when attempting to hit a key that I don’t use very often. So as I use them more I expect this to happen less.
While I am still attempting to increase my typing speed further it is rather safe to say that I will be continuing to use the Dvorak layout even after the two months are up. The reasons for this is that not only did I get back up to my normal typing speed within a month but surpassed it and am able to switch back whenever needed. But mostly I just like the layout and find it more comfortable to use. If you are reading this you will likely be thinking about switching to Dvorak while it is up to you weather you make the attempt I will say this, give it a go you can always switch back if you find you don’t like it, but give it at least two weeks before giving up.