Why is the Keyboard not in Alphabetical Order?


Courtesy of replacementlaptopkeys.com

Ever wonder why your keyboard isn’t organized in alphabetical order? Why do the letters seem randomly placed? Well, there is actually a method to this madness resulting from the need to slow typist down and make typing easier and more fluent, according to quora.com

When first invented, the keys were arranged in an alphabetical order (vowels on top, consonants underneath), but people typed so fast that the mechanical character arms got tangled up,”Professor August Dvorak of Washington State University states in an interview with the Matador Messenger.

“So the problematic letters were randomly positioned to actually slow down typing and prevent key jams; nearly half the letters kept their original alphabetical position,”added Professor August Dvorak

It was promoted as the “non-jamming typewriter” (combined with the ability for salesmen to type the word “typewriter” entirely from the top row of keys.) The keyboard was designed to help typist reach the most frequently used keys most easily. Computer keyboards followed this because people are used to it and don’t want to relearn typing, added theguardian.com

The name “QWERTY” for our typewriter keyboard comes from the first six letters in the top alphabet row. It was the work of inventor C. L. Sholes, who built his first model in 1868, the keys were arranged alphabetically in two rows.

However it was sluggish, it would clash and jam when someone tried to type with it. Fortunately, Sholes was able to figure out a way around the problem simply by rearranging the letters, according to huffingtonpost.com

There is no reason nowadays why the keys should not be in alphabetical order, except that we would all have to relearn the skill and given the sheer number of QWERTY keyboards that must exist world-wide, it would be quite impractical, if not uneconomical, to change them now. After all, it really didn’t matter what keyboard you used, good typists type fast, bad typists don’t, reported quora.com

Some of amazing facts have been collected over time about typing. Below are some of the facts, reported by ratatype.com

  • Girls often practice typing more than boys
  • Boys generally show better results in typing
  • The average computer typist is 41 WPM
  • Fastest typist, Barbara Blackburn, record is 212 WPM