Switched to Colemak

We have over 20 alternative layout keyboardists at Automattic circa this post, including one rather well known one. For three years, I resisted their proselytizing as I calculated the cost/benefit ratio to be against switching:

  • We live in a QWERTY world. I didn’t like the idea of being “that guy” when I sat down in front of someone else’s computer.
  • I didn’t want the hassle of radically shifted keyboard shortcuts.
  • I thought it generally over optimizing (for most people). Sixty or seventy words per minute seemed fine to me as it ought to keep pace well enough with most mental threads.

I ended up changing my mind because:

  • It’s not about the (potential) speed. I work at a keyboard the majority of my waking hours. My chances of eventual RSI are high and QWERTY doesn’t help. I’ve finally gotten through my thick head that the main benefit of an alternative layout is comfort and hopefully injury prevention.
  • The advent of the BYOD trend has made the “QWERTY world” problem less of an issue.
  • The Colemak layout leaves the main QWERTY shortcuts intact.

Most of my coworkers switched to Dvorak. I’ve switched to Colemak as I think it to be a tad more efficient. The important takeaway, IMO, is to get off QWERTY as either should be leaps better on your wrists over time.

If you are intrigued, join me in making a Colemak switch! You can grab the purdy-fied Colemak printout you see above from my coworker Matt Wiebe‘s site as a PDF.

Yes, I did type this post up in Colemak. As I’m only a couple days in, it took me, erm, awhile.

4 thoughts on “Switched to Colemak

  1. Way to go!

    RSI was also a major motivating factor for me. I haven’t suffered from it myself (a couple of pangs a couple of times) but I’ve seen its debilitating impact on friends. And yeah, we’re basically professional typists, so this is an issue.

    I was at 75-80 wpm on Qwerty, and I’m up to 65-70 wpm on Colemak now, 16 months later. I felt basically comfortable, if a bit clumsy occasionally, from the 3 month mark onwards or so.

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