On In Science & Technology

Ever Wondered Why Letters On Keyboard Are Not In Alphabetical Order? 

There are so many things about today's technology that make us wonder. However tech savvy we might be, there are some questions that leave us looking for their answers. We all have been using computer keyboards or laptop pads daily. But we've given seldom thoughts to the letters that are arranged on the keyboard.  It is unusual to find the setting of these letters in a non-alphabetic pattern. Well, there is a history behind this arrangement of letters. The reason dates back to the time where typewriters existed. What made the designers to change the pattern? How did this QWERTY system come into being? Let's peep into the actual theory behind designer's action.        

# Computer keyboard is derived from typewriter keyboard.  

The computer keyboards originated from typewriter keyboards. Somehow, the pattern is based on QWERTY keyboard. It was first introduced by Christopher Latham Sholes.  

# In 1870, the original design of positioned keys was in alphabetical order.

This made the typists go too fast or should I say faster than one could imagine those days.    

# The earlier layout - Dvorak layout minimised the distance travelled.  

The less distance and higher speed in the Dvorak Layout allowed the typist to place alternate hands on the consecutive letters as often as possible. 

# Due to letters “s-h, t-h, e-a, e-i, o-u”

And the consecutive hitting of these keys, the issue of wrangling of mechanical arms came up.

# So for slow typing and preventing key jams...

... The letters were randomly positioned. 

# The QWERTY keyboards were actually developed for mechanical typewriters.

The logic of QWERTY layout was based on letter usage in English rather than letter position in the alphabet. Well, there is also hearsay that the ‘Typewriter’ word could be typed easily since all the letters were on one row. 

# This random positioning has benefited us.

People can easily learn to touch keys and they can even get rid of their habit of looking at the keyboard too often.