Why QWERTY?

(hat tip to Michael Ward)

P1010892

The name of this blog is QWERTY-- because the image of individual typewriter keys working together to produce something great speaks to me of creativity in community. I also love the combination of sound and touch and sight that comes together when the type-writing is going well.

So I was pleased when Michael Ward forwarded the link to this article from the BBC News on the QWERTY keyboard.

Look down from the screen on which you are reading this, and wonder. Q-W-E-R-T-Y. How on earth did this pattern of letters get so locked into our language?

It seems so random. Patchily alphabetic, and in places wantonly arbitrary.

Yet it is also the ultimate software - hard-wired into tens of millions of brains and hundreds of millions of fingers around the world.

Want to read more? Here's the link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10925456

In doubt about the premise of the article? Try typing QWERTY three times really fast. Hah!

1 Comment
  1. The article does not make it quite clear enough, for my taste, that there has never actually been a reputable study showing QWERTY to be slower than any other keyboard arrangement. Keyboard designs show no benefit relative to each other when carefully tested — which is probably why the article quickly hops to the subject of stenography, but that hop manages to leave the reader thinking that Dvorak's claims were upheld — whereas, in fact, they were refuted. A good journal article on the subject:

    http://www.utdallas.edu/~liebowit/keys1.html

    This tiny web page is also a good summary, while making it clearer that there is no empirical evidence in favor of any QWERTY alternatives (stenography being a whole different system, of course, and demonstrably faster):

    http://home.earthlink.net/~dcrehr/whyqwert.html

    Enjoy! And, it's always fun to have a new blog article from you. 🙂

Leave a Reply