QWERTY CONTRA DVORAK
We actually owe the peculiar lay-out of the letters used on our keyboards (named QWERTY after the first 6 letters in the upper row respectively QWERTZ for the German version) to the inventor of the type writer, Christopher Sholes, who got a patent for his revolutionary invention in 1868.
At the time, the lay-out of the letters had mere practical reasons: The distance between the most frequently used letters was chosen to be as great as possible so that the types that hit the paper did not get in each others' way. Today, this entanglement no longer is of importance - all the same, the lay-out has not been changed. Or has it?
Not necessarily faster but nicer to your arm
QWERTY In the 1930s, Washington-based Professor August Dvorak worked out a system allowing a lay-out of the letters to form a cluster of the vowels and the most frequently used consonants in one basic row, the so-called Dvorak method. In the US, it was shown that using the Dvorak keyboard would result in „travelling“ one mile per day on the keyboard, whereas using the QWERTY system would require travelling 16 to 20 miles.
The writing tempo, as proved by a number of surveys, could not be raised by means of the Dvorak method to any considerable extent. However, the consequent shorter distances your fingers have to travel, have shown to reduce the strain on the sinews of your hand. If you are interested in switching systems: Almost any operating system can be switched to a different lay-out of the keyboard. And if you are willing to take the pain of learning a new system in a short period of time, you will be able to easily convert the keys of your own keyboard by simply using a screwdriver..
You will find some links for Dvorak keyboard drivers under: