The above comic perfectly demonstrates something that we all have wondered at some point while glancing on our keyboards, right ?
Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we just had one which displayed letters according to alphabetical order. I’ll tell you one thing. It would’ve been much easier to remember the placing of the letters that way. Well to answer this question, we need to go back in time to understand a little bit about the keyboard’s history.
See, the modern keyboard layout originated from the letter sequencing used in early typewriters.
And before the current keyboard design, there was a keyboard with letters as per alphabetical order. But the design ultimately failed because it’s creators had grossly underestimated people’s typing speed. In fact the typing speed was so fast that it led to jamming of the buttons. And as any experienced typewriter would tell you, jamming of the keys wasn’t a pleasant thing. It was a lengthy, tiresome procedure that involved un-jamming all the keys one by one.
And hence, the need for a new design was felt. The QWERTY style was introduced back in 1870s by a man named Christopher Latham Sholes, who himself was in a desperate need for finding a better solution due to his job as a newspaper editor.
Now let’s take a closer look at the Qwerty design. Everyone is aware that the Qwerty keyboard consists of letters in no particular order, and that the beginning letters being Q, W, E, R, T, Y. This mismatched sequence of letters led to the belief that it’s design is responsible for slowing down its users. But that’s not true at all. In fact if anything, it enhances our speed. Let me explain.
Because the keys were placed far apart, the typist had the choice to alternate between hands while typing, hence improving his speed.
And the so-called random placing of the letters is well thought of too.
Since our index & the middle finger have greater strength and speed compared to other fingers hence it was probably a good idea to put frequently used letters such as “E,T,I,O,S,F.N” at the center and the top portion of the keyboard.
Less used letters such as “Q,W, X, Z, J, K, B, N are placed on the less used of the keyboard as well at its lower bottom and at the sides.
It turns out that sometimes even that most random everyday things have a greater purpose to serve.
Fun fact : If you notice the first row of the letters, you will find all the letters of the word “TYPEWRITER” in the same row. This may seem as a coincidence, but this too has a reason behind it. The makers of the keyboard did so purposely as a sign of respect and appreciation for the creators of the typewriters, without which the QWERTY design wouldn’t exist.
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