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The QWERTY keyboard: a review

Authors
Journal
International Journal of Man-Machine Studies
0020-7373
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
18
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0020-7373(83)80010-8
Disciplines
  • Design

Abstract

Abstract The Standard typewriter keyboard (nicknamed QWERTY) was designed over a century ago. During this time, QWERTY has become a controversial issue, because many individuals feel that the sequential keyboard market is being monopolized by a sub-optimum layout. Despite these feelings, in 1971 the International Standards Organization recognized QWERTY as the Standard keyboard, and a year later Alden, Daniels & Kanarick (1972) concluded that QWERTY was “the de facto Standard layout for Communications and computer interface keyboards”. This article reviews the origins of the QWERTY keyboard, and other sequential keyboards which have been developed since 1909. The reasoning behind the design of these other keyboards and the subsequent impact they made on the keyboard world are discussed. Various explanations are suggested as to why this previous research has not had any effect on the design of the QWERTY keyboard.

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