Dvorak Obstacles

Dvorak is an option on virtually every computer, but with the advent of new technologies, the traditional desktop/laptop computer might lose its place as the predominant typing environment. Also, some administrators are refusing to allow users to switch to Dvorak when the option exists. This has been reported in some schools and other educational settings.

Health and other issues have isolated me from this issue for a long time, so I don't know if it's still much of a problem. For example, I recently took some admissions and employment related tests, but the tests were conducted online using my own computer and keyboard. The testing system had no way to know I was using my computer's Dvorak keyboard layout.

In any case, the following are some obstacles that I listed several years ago. Some may still be present.

If you want to discuss these issues you can E-mail me directly, but I think the best place to discuss these issues is the Alt-Keyboards mailing list where everybody who is interested can get involved. I've long since lost the ability to keep up with everything by myself.

If you know of a new device that does not support Dvorak, I think the most important thing to do is ask the manufacturer about it. They might be able help; if not, at least they'll learn that the Dvorak layout exists, and that people want it. Also, contact the makers of products that do support the Dvorak layout, and let them know you use and appreciate the feature.

If you encounter a school or institution that denies access to Dvorak, I think the best thing is to approach the system administrator and respectfully ask for access. If that fails, escalate to the supervisor, the principle, the school board, etc., always keeping cool and being respectful. (If you're a kid, discuss the problem with your parents first and get their help.) If QWERTY actually causes you discomfort, be sure to state that clearly, but don't threaten. I have heard mixed reports about invoking legal arguments, for example, based on the Americans with Disabilities Act. If I am to believe what I hear, it sometimes does more harm than good.

Before you start, perhaps you should read my Dissenting Opinions page, so you know some of the arguments against Dvorak that you might encounter.

If all else fails and it's a public institution, get involved with your community's political system and try to find others who support your view. Whatever happens, get on alt-keyboards and let us know how it goes.

Back to Introducing the Dvorak Keyboard.


Last update: 20 February 2009
Original page established: 19 July 2000
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