Back in June I decided to change my keyboard layout with the hopes of increasing my typing speed. I have touch typed for 20 years on a QWERTY keyboard and was getting about 54 words per minute. First I tries Dvorak layout, but had a tough time even learning the keyboard never mind typing with any speed. Then I switched to the Colemak layout which I was able to get some speed on very quickly.
I’m currently typing at 60 words a minute. That’s a 10% improvement, and I’m sure there is still some speed left to be gained, but I’m not sure I’ll ever make it to my original goal of doubling my typing speed. That would be 108 WPM, and at this point I’d be thrilled with 80 WPM.
If I could go back, I’m not sure if I would switch again. More speed was my original goal, and I think I could have increased my speed faster if I had done as much practice with QWERTY as I have done with Colemak. But here I am, I have switched and I don’t think I’ll be going back.
The Colemak layout is noticeably easier to type on. Much less reaching for common letters (I’m looking at you E, R and T). My typing hasn’t suffered too terribly on QWERTY keyboards, but I can no longer touch type, I have to watch the keyboard.
Up next on my experiments with typing, mechanical keyboards. I have noticed in my practicing that there are times when I’m not sure whether I have typed a letter or not because of the mushy keys. I’ll monitor my WPM before and after that switch when I finally fork over the money for a >$100 keyboard.