I’ve been using the Dvorak keyboard layout for about a year now. But I’m thinking of switching back. Here are my reasons:
1. Human Compatibility
There are times it is inconvenient to have a different keyboard layout than other people. The most obvious is going over to another person’s computer to help him, be it a coworker, family member or someone else. What I didn’t consider happening is when others use my computer. I didn’t think there would be a use case, but it turns out there is. Coworkers come over to help or do something cooperatively. Or I might be logged into the computer in the conference room and they want to take over the keyboard for a moment. Sometimes, rarely I admit, I let my kids use my computer. All of these times it is a hassle having to switch keyboard layouts.
I don’t know about you, but I often mistype passwords. And sometimes I have to look at the keys to convince myself I am hitting the correct keys. Well, that doesn’t work when the keys aren’t labelled correctly. And when I’m creating a new password, I want to make sure I am typing what I’m thinking because there will be times I need to type the same password using a QWERTY keyboard, such as at when a computer is booted. Rarely is the keyboard the Dvorak keyboard at bootup or login.
3. Application Compatibility
For whatever reason, Outlook does not like to use the Dvorak layout and I find myself having to use the keyboard setup icon in my tray to change it to use it. Another case that trips up the mapping is when I remote into my work computer (Windows) from my Mac. The layout turns out to be neither. I think some kind of double-mapping is taking place, where QWERTY is converted to Dvorak twice. This makes me have to change my Mac layout to QWERTY for the time I am logged in.
(Edit: Two more applications: games such as Terraria that use WASD for movement and vi which uses HJKL don’t map well in my head.)
I am pretty used to having to reach when I cut and paste, but it is a reach and not nearly as easy and handy with QWERTY.
I’ve been using the Dvorak keyboard for a year now and I wouldn’t say my typing is any faster. The other reason I wanted to switch to Dvorak was to lessen the strain on my hands and possibly lower my chances of carpal tunnel. If that day happens, I’ll deal with it then.
Now, how long is it going to take me to switch back to QWERTY?