Why are the keys on a typewriter/keyboard arranged the way they are?
The keys on a typewriter/keyboard are arranged in a standard manner (QWERTY) but they are not alphabetical. Why were they placed in this particular order and not alphabetical or some other order?
The QWERTY keyboard was designed at a time when typewriters had to be slow. Metal plates for each letter were set parallel to each other, and would move forward to strike the ribbon each time a letter was pressed. If two letters were pushed at the same time, or rapidly one after the other, they would clash and jam up the machine.
So the keyboard was designed to slow down typists, by requiring more finger motion to reach all the keys.
Now that the old typewriters have faded into history, the Dvorak keyboard is much more sensible, requiring one eighth of the finger motion on average, to type the same sentence.
In a sane society, it would have replaced the QWERTY keyboard long ago. But who would expect sanity on THIS crazy planet?
David Lerner. NewUniversalLanguage.com
Furthermore to what Freedomwizard said, it was also arranged for the keys we use most frequently to be in positions which were easy to reach without causing the clash of mechanical parts as they were lifted to the ribbon. If you notice where the Q,Z are these are more difficult to hit than most.
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