It’s been about a full year since I started using the Dvorak keyboard and it’s been quite the journey. This will likely be my last post about my Dvorak progress. I think a year is enough to gauge how well I have come along. When I embarked on this journey I went into it with the mindset, “Can I do this?”
Did I? I think so. I struggled in the beginning like many people do, but I was able to pick up the new layout in due time. I should have done a lot more lessons and learned the keyboard instead of just diving in and forcing myself to type. I think by doing that I have picked up a couple bad habits but nothing that prevents me from typing at a reasonable speed. For example I find myself hitting the L key with my ring finger instead of my pinky.
One of the biggest questions about learning Dvorak is what are the benefits? Namely, did your typing speed/accuracy improve? Unfortunately I didn’t quite know what my speed was before on the QWERTY layout, though I know I have done tests where I managed to get in the mid-80wpm. But I don’t know my actual typing speed with it. I also feel like typing tests are not an accurate portrayal of one’s tying ability; reading and typing can be challenging for many whereas just typing what you’re thinking can yield quite different results.
But anyway, I jumped on Typeracer a few times throughout the year to see how I was doing as a way of gauging my progress. I remember when I first started with it I was hovering around the 30wpm mark. A little while later I was in the mid-50s. Recently in the months of December to January I was hitting the mid-70s, so it was evident that my speed and accuracy was improving. At least with Typeracer.
Do I feel better though? Was it worth it? I think so. It was a fun and challenging experience and I am now fully engulfed in the layout, completely abandoning the QWERTY layout except on my phone (where I can still type on it quite well). If I try to use the QWERTY layout on another computer I am met with some difficulty though I can usually do it no problem as long as I am able to look at the keyboard. I am quite fast on the phone still, though.
All in all I am quite happy with it, plus it’s a nice conversation starter, and even a little amusing when I visit someone’s house and have to use their computer and they see me struggling to type. I often get asked, “I thought you were a computer nerd, shouldn’t you be able to type quickly?” I then show them the keyboard layout I use and I’m met with some astonished reactions.
I have seen some other keyboard layouts that have caught my eye, such as Colemak, but for now I am going to stick with Dvorak. It was a great little journey and I am glad I was able to accomplish what I set out to do. That’s always a good feeling.