It is pretty easy to demonstrate that the Dvorak layout is much more logical than QWERTY in several respects. I developed a quick litmus test that anybody can repeat:
I started with some keyboard goals that seem acceptable to all sides of the discussion:
For example, to test the Dvorak home row, I fed the program "aoeuidhtns." It listed all the words it could create with those letters. Here are the word counts for all the key sets I tested:
QWERTY ABCD Dvorak ------ ---- ------ (More is better...) Home-row-only 49 40 618 Top-two-rows-only 5810 6977 10448 (Fewer is better...) Left-hand-only 687 1183 58 Right-hand-only 101 49 29 Off-home-row-only 1138 596 15
Dvorak comes out well ahead in all these tests using the default dictionary. (Even the alphabetic keyboard looks better than QWERTY in some respects.) I also tried some tests with a list of 1000 most-used words that I found on the web; the ratios were similar.
The numbers look small overall because the strings I used had only one instance of each tested letter, so the test ignores words with two or more of any letter (like "test" and "letter"). I accepted this limitation to keep run times down.
Later I found that the program only accepts 32 character strings; I did a quick test with a couple of padded strings (for example, "aoeuidhtnsetaoinshdetaoinshdetao") and I didn't see much difference in the ratios.
Someday I hope to write a program that will measure actual text against these (and perhaps other) criteria. That would be a more true-to-life test; but frankly I don't expect QWERTY to catch up.
Back to Introducing the Dvorak Keyboard.