Dvorak, here I come

Inspired by this nice blog post by Matt Might, I decided to give the Dvorak keyboard layout, more specifically, the Programmer Dvorak, a try. I experienced minor finger fatigue symptoms lately, which also contributed to this decision. This nice site gave me some indication which layout would be best for most of my writing. Now, I can’t afford less productive time at the moment, so the path Matt chose won’t work for me. Instead, I decided to continue working using regular QWERTY, while doing Dvorak lessons three times a day. I will switch completely, once I reached reasonable fluency. This will most probably result in slower learning progress, but it seems worth the trade-off.

I use DvorakNG, a simple typing tutor, to do the lessons. The program gives some simple statistics after each lesson: an error ratio (1 – erroneous / total typed characters), and characters per second/minute. I will document those values in this post, updating it from time to time. There will even be some plots once I collected enough data! For now, I will start with just the home row keys of the Dvorak layout. I typed the same lesson using QWERTY to give a fair comparison. Here are the values:

Dvorak
When Time Total Misses Ratio CPS CPM
23/03/2014 14:34 1058.21 1540 125 91.88% 1.46 87.32
23/03/2014 18:41 866.99 1535 96 93.75% 1.77 106.23
24/03/2014 11:50 809.24 1530 119 92.22% 1.89 113.44
24/03/2014 15:33 832.88 1536 100 93.49% 1.84 110.65
25/03/2014 11:53 655.09 1513 70 95.37% 2.31 138.58
25/03/2014 15:05 628.56 1514 57 96.24% 2.41 144.52
26/03/2013 08:52 563.03 1520 76 95.00% 2.70 161.98

versus

QWERTY
When Time Total Misses Ratio CPS CPM
23/03/2014 14:34 238.06 1494 40 97.32% 6.28 376.54

To compare the two, I just divided the values for error ratio and characters per second (CPS):

Comparison
When Ratio CPS
23/03/2014 0.94 0.23
23/03/2014 0.96 0.28
24/03/2014 11:50 0.95 0.30
24/03/2014 15:33 0.96 0.29
25/03/2014 11:53 0.98 0.37
25/03/2014 15:05 0.99 0.38
26/03/2013 08:52 0.98 0.43

I’m planning to update the Dvorak-Table daily, and the QWERTY table once a week, to see if it gets worse. I’m really curious how these numbers will develop.As you can see, the error ratio only differs slightly (reason being my bad typing skills in QWERTY), while typing speed is considerable lower (23% of QWERTY speed).

Update 27/3:

So, I finally updated the tables. I was able to improve considerably, which is nice. However, I will abandon this lesson, since using just the home row is quite boring. Not sure if I will collect the same amount of data for each lesson.

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