What if I told you that I could take something that you do dozens, maybe hundreds of times a day and make it much more difficult? There is no benefit in making it more difficult, it is likely to cause you to make more mistakes, possibly contribute to injuries, and increase the time it takes you to do one of your most common tasks.
Some would say ‘no thanks’ to this offer. Others would question my intelligence, sanity, lineage, and generally say things best said with @#!. No one would say yes to that proposition. Yet, the qwerty keyboard persists. This was a design from 1874, that was designed to optimize typing without jamming the mechanical bars.
Mechanical bars have not been a problem since the electric typewriter was created. Currently a significant number of keyboards are not even physical, they are touch screen. Typing often occurs on tiny smart phone screens where ten figure typing is not practical. Yet, there has been no mainstream advancement in English language keyboard layout for over 140 years.
A search of ergonomic keyboards, yields some split keyboards to improve the ergonomic position for the hands, but no new layout of the actual keys. A search of keyboard apps yields emoji designs and other visuals, but no improvements on the qwerty layout.
Why not have touchpads and keyboards designed for optimal modern typing? The most used keys could be positioned better for both thumb and ten finger typing. The keys could be sized to make it easier to hit more common keys. Anyone who has watched Wheel of Fortune® or played Scrabble® know that the vowels and a few consonants make up the majority of letters used in English. It seems like it would be a simple ergonomic engineering exercise to create the best keyboard layout for today’s typing needs.
Even better than one layout, how about a customizable layout. Letters could be arranged and sized based on the individual user’s needs. If my best friend’s name is Izzy, I may need to make the z key more prominent than other users. Or if I decide that I want a keyboard without the letter “C” I could make that my default layout. Let’s face it, we all know what jerk C can be. K and S can make up the majority of necessary sounds (H will need a new pal for some chilling words). But really, who needs C anyway.
What ever an individual’s keyboard needs, it is time to get rid of the qwerty keyboard. I can not find a good reason to keep it, and have listed several reasons above to get rid of it. I advocate that #qwertymustdie. To do this, we need app designers and keyboard makers to create an alternative. Hopefully one that allows for a customizable solution for each user. Layout, key size, color, relative proximity – these should be personal choice (tsoise ?) for a modern typing solution.