The Dvorak Keyboard Layout:

Dvorak keyboard layout

Dvorak keyboard layout

Dvorak keyboard layoutFirst, the typewriter was ---------> (like how mobile phone texting is now!):
A B C D E F G H I J
 K L M N O P Q R S T
  U V W X Y Z " < >

Then it became: (called "QWERTY")
Q W E R T Y U I O P
 A S D F G H J K L : "
   Z X C V B N M , .

Dvorak keyboard layoutThen Scientists (Dr. Dvorak and his team) developed:
" , . P Y F G C R L
 A O E U I D H T N S -
 : Q J K X B M W V Z

It looks weird, indeed! But so did the popular (QWERTY) one - when they showed it to those having typed on the original (like "texting"):

The DVORAK layout will double your typing speed in 1 year, and it stops carpal tunnel syndrome!
wikipedia.org
typedvorak.com

dvorak-keyboard.com
http://web.mit.edu/jcb/www/Dvorak/

Dvorak keyboard

Yes, I typed this (all that all I type) on this layout, and I *definitely* recommend it. Yes, it takes 1 week to get used to, but in 2 months, you'll not even *miss* that old QWERTY garbage (er - layout). In 1 year, your typing speed WILL double! The hardest part is the beginning - making the change. Directions are below, but first, some history and web sites:
(Wall Street Journal) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125409298496044871.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dvorak_Simplified_Keyboard
http://www.dvorak-keyboard.com/
http://www.theworldofstuff.com/dvorak/
http://www.typedvorak.com/
On your iPhone: http://kasperowski.com/2008/05/iphone-dvorak-keyboard.html
Also know this: The gal in the Guiness Book of World Records used a DVORAK and she *refuses* to type on a QWERTY.

History:
The Dvorak keyboard, named for its inventor, Dr. August Dvorak (Czech) and his team of Scientists - commissioned by the Military, was designed with the goal of maximizing typing efficiency. For over a century, typists have been using the qwerty keyboard arrangement (2nd above), a hack that was implemented to work around the mechanical limitations of early typewriters.

The qwerty design was actually invented to slow typists down and was intended to place common two-letter combinations on opposite sides of the keyboard. If a typist were to hit two keys on the same side of the keyboard in rapid succession, the second lever on its way up would hit the first on its way down, the keys would become stuck together, and the typist would have to stop typing and unstick the keys. The qwerty layout was a clever hack that minimized this problem. However, now that most of us use computers (or electric typewriters that don't use levers), the problem of keys jamming is no longer a consideration. Also, computers now enable us to switch layouts while continuing to use the same equipment.

Most people learn to type on a qwerty keyboard. New typists learn the qwerty arrangement because that's most likely what they'll encounter on the existing equipment they'll be using; new equipment is standardized to the qwerty arrangement because that's what the vast majority of us know. Most people are reluctant to switch because they're afraid of how long it will take them to learn the new arrangement, and of the additional effort of having to switch layouts on all of the equipment they might encounter.

According to Dr. Dvorak, researchers had found that after three years of typing instruction, the average typing student's speed was 47 net words per minute (NWPM). Dvorak found that it took an average of only 52 hours (again, compared to THREE YEARS) of training for those typists' speeds on the Dvorak keyboard to reach their average speeds on the qwerty keyboard. By the end of the study their Dvorak speeds were 74 percent faster than their qwerty speeds, and their accuracies had increased by 68 percent.

Dvorak measured the finger travel of an average typist in an 8-hour day and they traveled between 20 and 30 km (12 and 20 miles) on a qwerty keyboard; the same text on a Dvorak keyboard traveled about 1.5 km (less than 1 mile) of travel. Dvorak believed that hurdling and awkward keystroke combinations were responsible for most of the common errors typists make. Also, it eliminated the "hard to type" words - such as "minimum" and "transaxle" or "pazzaz". "Orlando" is an easy type with QWERTY, and that's what Dvorak wanted for *all* words.

My Own Experience
I decided to switch to the Dvorak layout. After that frustrating first week, I found the Dvorak layout to be more comfortable and with less effort. The greatest benefit I've found from the Dvorak layout is the typing-related discomfort I was beginning to experience in my wrists and forearms diminished, even though the amount of typing I was doing remained constant. And now I've found, the vast increase in speed.

When you first make the switch, the unfamiliar layout will slow you down, helping your injured arms and wrists heal. Once your Dvorak speed catches up with your qwerty speed (which it eventually will - usually in 2 to 4 months), you will likely find typing more comfortable (or at least less uncomfortable), and it may be less likely that your RSI will recur.

Dvorak keyboard layout

Want to switch? It's easy - go to your Control Panel:

1. Open your "International" preference or control panel. Shown here on a Macintosh in Canada:

DVORAK Layout

2. Check on "Dvorak" I have it highlighted here (and made smaller to fit better):

DVORAK Layout

That's it - you're done! See how to switch on other operating systems at:
http://www.dvorak-keyboard.com/convert.html
It covers every version of Windows and most all others!

Dvorak keyboard layoutFinally, take the test - type these werds on your (QWERTY) keyboard, then imagine it on the Dvorak (above):
minimum
lollipop
plop
kill
sax
sad
red
fred
dress
deed
kink
junk
jink
sew
seed
Many say "that's STUPID to keep the vowels together!"
I reply "Look at the QWERTY - 2 are together on one side; the other 3 are on the other side."

Change to Dvorak - ask me how (it's free - no strings attached!) And now ... Dvorak on the iPhone!

Dvorak keyboard layout Dvorak keyboard layout

Dvorak keyboard layout

The Dvorak Keyboard Layout, the Alternative Keyboard Layout, double your typing speed!