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The Standard and Dvorak Keyboards Revisited: Direct Measures of Speed

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  • Leonard J. West
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    Abstract

    The Dvorak keyboard has been claimed to be greatly superior to the standard typwriter keyboard. However, none of the earlier research on the relative merits of the two keyboards provided unconfounded measures, ones permitting attributrion of the results solely to the differences between the keyborads. the present research supplied, for the first time, direct measures of speed on the two keyboards by the same persons. Eight experienced standard-keyboard typists, ranging in skill from the median speed of terminal high school trainees to beyond the 97th percentile speed of experienced employees (45-81 words per minute), typed high-frequency digraphs on both keyboards, resulting in a 4.0% superiority for the Dvorak keyboard. The relationship of present digraph findings to performance of realistic tasks is discussed, and research on whether differences in keyboard efficiency vary with the skill level of operators is recommended.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Santa Fe Institute in its series Research in Economics with number 98-05-041e.

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    Date of creation: May 1998
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    Handle: RePEc:wop:safire:98-05-041e

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    Keywords: Keyboards; typewriters; Dvorak; path dependence;

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