Saturday, 29 October 2011

Colemak vs The World

A while ago I started feeling some pain in my wrists, mainly in my mousing arm and wondered what I could do to avoid an increasing amount of pain.  The mice I use are some of the most comfortable out there, sure there are great solutions for people with RSI, but feeling that I really wasn't there yet I decided to look at how I type.

After some research, I decided to try a radical idea.  Try a new keyboard layout.  Namely, Colemak.

Embarassingly I have to admit that I never really quite became a touch-typist.  I could type on my keyboard at a comfortable 70 wpm max, and it certainly got me by.  I made a lot of mistakes though, and that cost me dearly in time wasted and finger travel (of which I'm sure was some form of contributing factor to my pain).

So, I dove in.  The first thing I did was print the colemak layout and I built a homemade stand so that it was proudly displayed in front of my screens so that I could easily look at it to learn the layout.  This simple step should be undertaken by anyone who wants to try a more comfortable keyboard layout for one obvious  reason: passwords.

The fact that I have a keyboard with blank keys forced me to learn how to touch type.  Most that would try this at first probably wouldn't bother trying to move the keys around on their keyboards so the effect is similar, you will need to feel around with your fingers until you memorize the key locations.  By the end, you'll be able to touch type.

Overall, my experience with colemak has been quite a positive one, it simply feels natural about 2 or 3 months in.  I can still type using the QWERTY layout in times of necessity.  Now my every day layout is colemak.  I even use it on my Android phone.

Colemak, I feel that it's certainly one of the better things I've done for my ergonomic self.

1 comment:

  1. Now that you've mastered Colemak, you should give CHORDMAK a try!