What do we know about the qwerty system

These days computers are pretty ubiquitous, and we can’t imagine a time when we didn’t use them. In 2017, pretty much any job you can possibly do involves the use of some sort of computer. And, when you are working, playing, or browsing on the computer you’ll most likely be using a keyboard. This means you need to understand the layout of a keyboard, how it works, and the way it affects you when you use it.

The best-known keyboard layout in the world is the QWERTY system, though this is not used throughout the world. In the West it is the most common form of keyboard configuration, however, some people prefer different configurations. So, have you ever looked at a keyboard and thought, why? Why is it not set out alphabetically? Where did this strange order come from? Well, we’re going to look a little closer and find out exactly why the QWERTY keyboard system wound up coming about.

Where does the term come from?

It seems like an odd word, QWERTY, doesn’t it? If you’ve ever wondered where it comes from just look down at your keyboard. On the top left, the first six keys on the keyboard are Q-W-E-R-T-Y, hence the name. This term is used to differentiate from other forms of keyboards, and different layouts. It is the term used for the format originally created for a typewriter all the way back in 1873. This was sold to Remington, and achieved popularity with the release of the Remington 2 in 1878. But, how did it come about, and why is the design the way it is?

Christopher Sholes

According to popular theory, the man we can credit with creating the QWERTY design was a guy named Christopher Sholes, a newspaper editor. He was obsessed with creating a one-size-fits-all typewriter – a machine that any typist of any level would be able to use easily. At first, Sholes thought about putting the keys in alphabetical order but found that people were typing too quickly, and this was causing the typebars to clash. So, he set about putting the keys in random, hard to reach places, in order to prevent people from typing too quickly.

What do we know about the qwerty system

An alternative theory

However, not everyone subscribes to this theory, and many believe that QWERTY was actually nothing to do with Sholes. Instead, they feel that the arrangement of the keys was based on the needs of telegraph operators, and what would make life easier for them. They were often tasked with using keyboards when trying to translate Morse Code, and this is what the design was based on. The keys that are used the most are placed around where the fingers lay in the middle of the keyboard, so they are easy to access. This is why the letter ‘e’ is just above the middle finger of the left hand, and ‘a’ and ‘s’ sit directly in line with the 5th and 4th fingers respectively. Lesser-used letters, such as ‘q’, ‘p’ and ‘z’ are in the corners of the keyboard, in the more awkward places for your fingers to reach.

Different type of keyboard

For years, many people have claimed the QWERTY keyboard layout is cumbersome, and not conducive to people doing their best work. In light of this, alternative designs have been posited in order to try to find a better solution. This led to the creation of the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard, which is meant to reduce the amount people have to move their fingers. However, it is debateable whether or not this is actually a more efficient keyboard in the long run.

If you’ve ever used a keyboard on a regular basis, you’re probably used to the QWERTY layout by now, and you might be wondering why there is a need to change it. Well, it seems a lot of people are still dissatisfied with it and are actively seeking change. We don’t know about you, but, we’re so used to the QWERTY layout, we can’t imagine using anything else.

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What do we know about the qwerty system