In a previous post, I reviewed some alternative keyboard layouts.

Up to this point, I was in the process of switching to Dvorak. I had trained myself quite a bit, probably somewhere around ~10 to 20 hours, with a typing speed of 61 WPM.

Discovering new, more efficient keyboard layouts posed the following dilemma: sticking with Dvorak and my comfortable, hard-won 61 WPM; or paying the sunk costs and learning QGMLWY.

Dvorak is a big jump in efficiency over QWERTY. But, you can eke out a few percents of efficiency over Dvorak. If you do so, you get Colemak and Workman. And if you try really hard and optimize the hell out of your layout, you get the Q*MLW* family. The most interesting being QGMLWY (I pronounce Quag-mal-why).

All in all, I still think the best compromise between popularity and efficiency is Colemak. But I don’t give a damn about popularity. I wrote the custom mapping myself anyway. So I’m going with QGMLWY.

Going through the trouble of re-learning a keyboard layout is probably not worth it [1], but knowing that better layouts are out there gives me a headache. Switching will give me peace of mind.

I expect that getting up-to-speed to my previous Dvorak WPM will take 5 to 10 hours. Before deciding to switch, I gave myself a few hours to try out the QGMLWY layout to see how it goes. And it went better than expected: I learnt the homerow in only 1 hour. And with an additional 2 hours, I had almost learned the top row also. QGMLWY makes a lot of sense: all vowels are on the right, with H and Y considered wovels. Many keys positions are very intuitive, the more the key is used, the more accessible the position (which is not always true in Dvorak)

I’ll review how the two layouts feel once I am up-to-speed with QGMLWY. I expect the later to be much more natural and pleasant.

[1] The difference between Dvorak and QUERTY is much greater than between Colemak and Dvorak.