Language: Dvorak
Type: Virtual Onscreen Keyboard
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The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard is a keyboard layout patented in 1936 by Dr. August Dvorak and his brother-in-law, Dr. William Dealey. Over the years several slight variations were designed by the team led by Dvorak or by ANSI. These variations have been collectively or individually also called the Simplified Keyboard or American Simplified Keyboard but they all have come to be commonly known as the Dvorak keyboard or Dvorak layout. Dvorak proponents claim the Dvorak layout uses less finger motion and reduces errors compared to the standard QWERTY keyboard. This reduction in finger distance traveled is claimed to permit faster rates of typing while reducing repetitive strain injuries, though this has been called into question and their criticism has in turn also been called into question.

Although the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (DSK) has failed to replace the QWERTY keyboard, most major modern operating systems (such as Windows,[6] OS X, Linux, Android, Chrome OS, iOS (via a third-party keyboard), and BSD) allow a user to switch to the Dvorak layout. Currently, BlackBerry 10 and the Windows Phone do not support a system-wide, touchscreen Dvorak keyboard.

The Dvorak layout was designed to replace the QWERTY keyboard layout (the de facto standard keyboard layout, so named for the starting letters in the top row). The Dvorak layout was designed in the belief that it would significantly increase typing speeds over the QWERTY layout. Dvorak believed that there were many problems with the original QWERTY keyboard, claiming that it was a problem that:[7]

Many common letter combinations require awkward finger motions.
Many common letter combinations require a finger to jump over the home row.
Many common letter combinations are typed with one hand. (e.g. was, were)
Most typing is done with the left hand, which for most people is not the dominant hand.
About 16% of typing is done on the lower row, 52% on the top row and only 32% on the home row.
Dvorak studied letter frequencies and the physiology of people's hands and created a layout to alleviate the problems he believed were part of the QWERTY layout. The layout he created adheres to these principles:

Letters should be typed by alternating between hands (which makes typing more rhythmic, increases speed, reduces error, and reduces fatigue). On the Dvorak, vowels are all on the left home row, the most used symbols are on the left, while the most used consonants are on the right.
For maximum speed and efficiency, the most common letters and bigrams should be the easiest to type. This means that they should be on the home row, which is where the fingers rest, and under the strongest fingers (Thus, about 70% of keyboard strokes on the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard are done on the home row and only 22% and 8% on the top and bottom rows respectively).
The least common letters should be on the bottom row which is the hardest row to reach.
The right hand should do more of the typing because most people are right-handed.
The Dvorak layout is intended for the English language. In other European languages, letter frequencies, letter sequences, and bigrams differ from those of English. Also, many languages have letters that do not occur in English. For non-English use, these differences lessen the alleged advantages of the original Dvorak keyboard. However, the Dvorak principles have been applied to the design of keyboards for other languages, though the primary keyboards used by most countries are based on the QWERTY design.

The layout was completed in 1932 and was granted U.S. Patent 2,040,248 in 1936.[8] The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) designated the Dvorak keyboard as an alternative standard keyboard layout in 1982; the standard is INCITS 207-1991 (R2007) (previously X4.22-1983, X3.207:1991), "Alternate Keyboard Arrangement for Alphanumeric Machines". The original ANSI Dvorak layout was available as a factory-supplied option on the original IBM Selectric typewriter.

Original Dvorak layout

The typewriter keyboard layout that Dvorak & Dealey patented

The Dvorak typewriter keyboard layout that was publicly promulgated
Over the decades, symbol keys were shifted around the keyboard leading to variations in the Dvorak layout. In 1982, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) implemented a standard for the Dvorak layout known as ANSI X4.22-1983. This standard gave the Dvorak layout official recognition as an alternative to the QWERTY keyboard.[17]

The layout standardized by the ANSI differs from the original or "classic" layout devised and promulgated by Dvorak. Indeed, the layout promulgated publicly by Dvorak differed slightly from the layout for which Dvorak & Dealey applied for a patent in 1932—most notably in the placement of Z. Today's keyboards have more keys than the original typewriter did, and other significant differences existed:

The numeric keys of the classic Dvorak layout are ordered: 7 5 3 1 9 0 2 4 6 8 (used today by the Programmer Dvorak[18] layout)
In the classic Dvorak layout, the question mark key [?] is in the leftmost position of the upper row, while the slash key [/] is in the rightmost position of the upper row.
In the classic Dvorak layout, the following symbols share keys (the second symbol being printed when the SHIFT key is pressed):
colon [:] and question mark [?]
ampersand [&] and slash [/].
Modern U.S. Dvorak keyboard layouts almost always place semicolon and colon together on a single key, and slash and question mark together on a single key. Thus, if the keycaps of a modern keyboard are rearranged so that the unshifted symbol characters match the classic Dvorak layout then, sensibly, the result is the ANSI layout.

Supported operating systems: The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (DSK) is included with all major operating systems (such as Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and BSD). As for iOS, only iOS 7.1.1 supports Dvorak. Since the introduction of iOS 8 in 2014 Apple iPhone and iPad users have been able to install third party keyboards on their touchscreen devices which allow for alternative keyboard layouts such as Dvorak on a system wide basis.

Microsoft Windows

Versions of Microsoft Windows including Windows 95, Windows NT 3.51 and higher have shipped with support for the U.S. Dvorak layout.[6] Free updates to use the layout on earlier Windows versions are available for download from Microsoft. Earlier versions, such as DOS 6.2/Windows 3.1, included four keyboard layouts: QWERTY, two-handed Dvorak, right-hand Dvorak, and left-hand Dvorak. In May 2004 Microsoft published an improved version of its Keyboard Layout Creator (MSKLC version 1.3 – current version is 1.4[20]) that allows anyone to easily create any keyboard layout desired, thus allowing the creation and installation of any international Dvorak keyboard layout such as Dvorak Type II (for German), Svorak (for Swedish) etc. Another advantage of the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator over third-party tools for installing an international Dvorak layout is that it allows creation of a keyboard layout that automatically switches to standard (QWERTY) after pressing the two hotkeys (SHIFT and CTRL).

Keyboard strokes

Touch typing requires typists to rest their fingers in the home row (QWERTY row starting with "ASDF"). The more strokes there are in the home row, the less movement the fingers must do, thus allowing a typist to type faster, more accurately, and with less strain to the hand and fingers. The vast majority of the Dvorak layout's key strokes (70%) are done in the home row, claimed to be the easiest row to type because the fingers rest there. In addition, the Dvorak layout requires the fewest strokes on the bottom row (the most difficult row to type). On the other hand, QWERTY requires typists to move their fingers to the top row for a majority of strokes and has only 32% of the strokes done in the home row. Because the Dvorak layout concentrates the vast majority of key strokes to the home row, the Dvorak layout uses about 63% of the finger motion required by QWERTY, which is claimed to make the keyboard more ergonomic.[25] Because the Dvorak layout requires less finger motion from the typist compared to QWERTY, some users with repetitive strain injuries have reported that switching from QWERTY to Dvorak alleviated or even eliminated their repetitive strain injuries; however, no scientific study has been conducted verifying this.[28]

The typing loads between hands differs for each of the keyboard layouts. On QWERTY keyboards, 56% of the typing strokes are done by the left hand. As the right hand is dominant for the majority of people, the Dvorak keyboard puts the more often used keys on the right hand side, thereby having 56% of the typing strokes done by the right hand.

Awkward strokes
Awkward strokes are undesirable because they slow down typing, increase typing errors, and increase finger strain. Hurdling is an awkward stroke requiring a single finger to jump directly from one row, over the home row to another row (e.g., typing "minimum" [which often comes out as "minimun" or "mimimum"] on the QWERTY keyboard).[29] In the English language, there are about 1,200 words that require a hurdle on the QWERTY layout. In contrast, there are only a few words requiring a hurdle on the Dvorak layout and even fewer requiring a double hurdle.[29][30]

Hand alternation and finger repetition
Alternating hands while typing is a desirable trait because while one hand is typing a letter, the other hand can get in position to type the next letter. Thus, a typist may fall into a steady rhythm and type quickly. On the other hand, when a string of letters is done with the same hand, the chances of stuttering are increased and a rhythm can be broken, thus decreasing speed and increasing errors and fatigue. Likewise, using the same finger to type consecutive letters is also to be avoided. The QWERTY layout has more than 3,000 words that are typed on the left hand alone and about 300 words that are typed on the right hand alone (the aforementioned word "minimum" is a right-hand-only word). In contrast, with the Dvorak layout, only a few words are typed using only the left hand and even fewer use the right hand alone.[24] This is because most syllables require at least one vowel, and, in a Dvorak layout, all the vowels (and "y") fall on the left side of the keyboard.

Standard keyboard
QWERTY enjoys advantages over the Dvorak layout due to its position as the de facto standard keyboard:

Keyboard shortcuts in most major operating systems, including Windows, are designed for QWERTY users, and can be awkward for some Dvorak users, such as Ctrl-C (Copy) and Ctrl-V (Paste). However, Apple computers have a "Dvorak – Qwerty ⌘" setting, which temporarily changes the keyboard mapping to QWERTY when the command (⌘) key is held. Some public computers (such as in libraries) will not allow users to change the keyboard to the Dvorak layout
Some standardized exams will not allow test takers to use the Dvorak layout (e.g. Graduate Record Examination)
Certain games, especially those that make use of "WASD" for in-game movement, may not work properly with a Dvorak layout. This can often be corrected manually by reassigning WASD to ",AOE", the Dvorak equivalent.
People who can touch type with a QWERTY keyboard may be less productive with alternative layouts that they have not trained themselves on, even if these are closer to the optimum.
Not all people use keyboard fingerings as specified in touch-typing manuals due to either preference or anatomical difference. This can change the relative efficiency on alternative layouts.

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