Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rare keyboard layout series - 7

To read other article of this series, click here.

Finally the last post for this series, the summary. I know some of you glad that it is finally over, hahah.

So why do Dvorak, Coleman, Maltron, NEO, and Fitaly (and many more) failed to take over QWERTY even if they are much more better and much more effective or faster than QWERTY?

1. Time
Some of these keyboard layout come out during great depression (example Dvorak), people just don't have the money to invest in it. Others are too late to the market, the world already get used with QWERTY layout, so will just ignore these new keyboard layout.

2. Implementation
Shortcut key that we used for example Ctrl-C, Ctrl-X and Ctrl-V for copy, cut and paste in Windows are difficult to use when switch to these rare keyboard layout. For UNIX, text editor like vi and vim, the key to move around text H, J, K, L are not at at the right place anymore with these rare keyboard layout. Also for video games, we usually use W, A, S and D for movement, they are not at the right place anymore with these rare keyboard layout, no consumer would want that.

3. Supports by manufacturer
Most big players in PC industry do not want to support it because not a big market for these new keyboard layout. Most of the world already used to QWERTY and QWERTY do not need a lot of resources to train people to use it.

4. Cost
Another reason PC manufacturers do not want to adopt keyboard layout other than QWERTY is because of the cost. It is much more expensive to change the hardware and the customers also not wanting these new layout.

5. Training
Another reason manufacturer, typing school (during old time - the pre-PC era) and PC training center (the PC era) already have training material and courses for QWERTY, why do they want to spend money and resources to change if most of the people just want the QWERTY training?

6. Vicious cycle
Since very few PC manufacturers want to adopt these new keyboard layout, the less training center and school would want to teach them. And even less corporate and consumers would want to use it because lack of training and supports. And with that, even less PC manufacturers want to adopt them. And the vicious cycle keep on going and going, until 99.99% of PC and smartphone users don't even know about these rare keyboard layout.

Even though it is much easier to implement these rare keyboard layout nowadays with soft keyboard (no hardware change require) because of popularity of touch based devices (iPad, tablet and smartphone), 99.99% of these users will continue to use QWERTY keyboard layout.

I will continue to use QWERTY anyway. How about you? :)

btw, Happy National Day to all fellow Malaysian!

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source: I wrote this article!

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