This is the end of my third week learning the Norman keyboard layout. Learning a new layout is quite a big endeavour, as it changes the way I do almost anything, both at work and at home. How well I learn it determines how efficiently I can go about my daily tasks, and how frustrated I get when I make mistakes that slow me down and get in the way. So how is my typing now, after three weeks of practise?
It has been a week since I started learning the Norman keyboard layout. I went “cold turkey”, diving right into the new layout after just a couple of days. During the first few days, typing required a conscious effort to watch where my fingers were going, and where each key was supposed to be. I made lots of mistakes, which slowed me down somewhat. By the end of the first week, I found myself getting gradually more comfortable with the new layout.
Computer keyboards have not changed much over the years. Standard keyboards of today come in either ANSI or ISO layouts, inspired by typewriters invented in the 1870s, where keys had to be staggered to leave space for the levers. This staggered layout is unnatural, however, for human hands, especially for the left hand where the slant of the keys goes against the natural movement of the fingers. While a few attempts have been made to design ortho-linear keyboards that align the keys in a straight line from front to back (such as Typematrix 2030, Kinesis Advantage, Truly Ergonomic 207/209 and Ergodox), the Nexus keyboard designed by Geekhack forumer AcidFire could be the best attempt so far in re-designing the keyboard.
I swapped the keys on my Macbook Pro to the Norman layout, to aid in my learning and to not confuse my wife when she needs to use my MBP. It was a simple procedure that took only 15 minutes with a mini flathead screwdriver.
Yesterday, I started on a new adventure in the way I use computers. I decided to learn to type using the Norman Layout.