Today, I have been using the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (Wikipedia entry) for a thousand days, which makes it seem appropriate to say something about it. Except for the first month after changing, I have not been very interested in reading or experimenting with Dvorak, so much of what I said in my first article (in Swedish) still holds true. For instance, I still perceive that there are two main advantages using Dvorak. Most prominently, I have managed to increase my typing speed drastically, from about 350 characters per minute to well above 500. However, this increase might be because of my having learnt to touch type (Wikipedia entry) properly, so it would be unfair to accredit the effect to the change of keyboard layout. On the other hand, I would never have learnt to touch type if I had not changed layout. Here is what the progress diagram looks like, beginning in February 2005 and ending today:
X axis = attempts, Y axis = CPM
Moreover, using Dvorak is more comfortable than Qwerty, because alternating hands when typing (all vowels are on the left hand, which makes the spread between the hands more even) feels very good. I can type for much longer intervals without the slightest discomfort, which was not the case before. However, this might also be the result of learning to type properly, so again it is unclear how much Dvorak contributes to this effect.
What is very clear is that I am comfortable with the change, since it entailed many changes to the better, regardless of what caused the them. If I had a time machine and had the power to go back and decide again, I would have made the change even earlier.
Should you change to Dvorak Simplified Keyboard? That depends. As I have said in previous articles, it took me two weeks to equal my typings speed prior to the change. Admittedly, I practiced a lot, so lets say a month for the average learner. Is it worth it? I think it is, provided that you spend a decent amount of time typing (most people do) and have a month in which you are not required to produce large amounts of text. If you are using a laptop, the main disadvantage with using a non-standard layout vanishes, since you will always be able to use a computer with a nice keyboard layout (the difficulty for me is that I avoid writing longer texts on other computers than my own since I do not own a laptop, but that has never been an issue during the past thousand days). So if you feel inclined, go ahead and challenge yourself to reach hitherto unknown comfort and typing speed. I will happily answer any questions or offer whatever help is within my power. Aaoeu!