Sunday, May 13, 2018

This Week in Science History: Dvorak Keyboard

On May 12, 1936, the patent application for the Dvorak keyboard was granted. The idea came to August Dvorak (a University of Washington education professor) when he acted as an adviser to a student writing a master's thesis about typing errors. Dvorak realized that a more efficient keyboard layout could be created in order to better serve people with high words-per-minute rates. In Dvorak’s view, the predominant QWERTY key layout had a number of flaws. He calculated that over half of all keystrokes occurred on the top row, which required typists to constantly move their fingers off the home row. In addition, he found that most key presses were performed by the left hand, which is typically non-dominant. Dvorak and his brother-in-law John Dealey aimed to design a keyboard that would decrease typos and increase speed. They researched the science of motion and even analyzed the most commonly used letters and letter combinations in order to create the keyboard.

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