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    Why stick with QWERTY when the keyboard is virtual?
    By Michael White | October 27th 2010 08:44 AM | 1 comment | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Michael

    Welcome to Adaptive Complexity, where I write about genomics, systems biology, evolution, and the connection between science and literature,

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    With virtual keyboards so common, it's should be easy for alternative, more efficient keyboard layouts to make headway, since, as we've all heard, the default QWERTY layout was designed to slow typists down. So why aren't more devices (or at least the iPhone) giving you options, like the Dvorak layout? From the Hartford Advocate:
    If you consider all of the ways that technology has changed, even in the past four or five years, it seems strange that the majority of us continue to use something as outmoded and inefficiently designed as the QWERTY keyboard. Our things are constantly being tweaked and updated and resold to us as more comfortable, more useful, easier to manage and better organized. But keyboard-comfort improvement is basically limited to gel pads and little flip-out booster legs to prop the thing up. Unless you’re willing to make a drastic change, your keyboard options are slight, limited... The WSJ story reported on the frustrations of Dvorak users with their iPhones, which didn’t come with a Dvorak keyboard option.
    I'd be willing to give Dvorak a try, but I just don't see this other alternative being useful:
    What will more likely become standard-issue might be a virtual version of the Fast Finger Keyboard that came out a few months ago, which a lot of bloggers dismissed as stupid. It has function keys that say “ASAP,” “BTW,” “BRB,” “LOL,” “IMO,” etc

    Comments

    Hank
    Shortcuts are nothing new but they rarely catch on if they are trapped in time.   When I was a lad, my younger brother got a Timex-Sinclair TS 1000 computer from a relative and I got a bag (yes, I was the Black Sheep of the family) and it had clever shortcuts for common BASIC language terms, GOTO, IF, THEN, etc.  LOL may not exist 5 years from now so people won't be excited about a keyboard with it.

    Regarding a keyboard mentality change, it is a legacy and most people do not learn how to type with two hands these days so it is an unnecessary one - but it needs a killer app.    There were hundreds of MP3 players when Apple made the iPod and then they became ubiquitous because of the interface.

    As a P.S., my brother gloated over that mini computer thing for a month and then gave it to me - he had zero interest in computers, so his getting one as a gift was a surprise to him as much as me.