Awesome Keyboard Layout

I know this probably won't go anywhere since pretty much everybody reading this is already comfortable with the QWERTY layout, but I can't help but give rearranging the keyboard a try. It's such a nice, neat little puzzle. Other people do crosswords; I stay up late doing this.

` 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 - =
   B M P F L X Y W J V [ ] \
    D N T S R A E O I U '
     G Q K C Z H , . ; /

I've bolded everything that's either a home key or easily accessible with the index fingers. These are the keys that are easiest to hit, so they should be some of the most frequently occurring letters, ideally.

Letter Frequency in English

Here are some letter frequency lists for English, Spanish, and the two languages combined. I've bolded the same number of letters as in the layout above so you can see how closely they match up.

English:  ETAOINSHRDLCUMWFGYPBVKJXQZ
Spanish:  EAOSRNIDLCTUMPBGYVQHFZJXWK
Combined: EAOSTNIRDLCHUMPGFBYWVKZJXQ

Of course, letter frequency wasn't my only concern in designing the layout. I also wanted to organize the sounds in a way that made sense phonetically, no matter what the language. I don't think that's been a concern of many other alternative keyboard layouts.

Here's a few more layouts to compare, if you're interested.

Sholes (QWERTY):
` 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 - =
   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:
` 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 [ ]
   ' , . 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
Colemak:
` 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 - =
   Q W F P G J L U Y ; [ ] \
    A R S T D H N E I O '
     Z X C V B K M , . /

I just found a really cool app where you paste in some text and it analyzes how efficiently it would be typed on several different keyboard layouts. Totally fun! (If you're a nerd, that is.)

And here's a pretty good tirade about the QWERTY layout, why we have it, and why we should all be using Dvorak instead. I think my layout beats Dvorak, but the guy's argument still holds.

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2 Comments:

At October 22, 2009 4:53 PM , Anonymous Justin said...
Are you using this layout now, then? I've been told of the glory that is Dvorak, but I'm afraid I'm much too lethargic and set in my ways to break the chains of slavery that QWERTY has shackled me with. I'm curious to know how long it would take you to completely rewire your brain and muscle memory in order to match your typing speed/accuracy from the old to the new.

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