Why Are Alphabets On A Keyboard Jumbled?

For Once at least in your life, you must have asked yourself ‘Why are the Alphabets on a keyboard Jumbled?’. You are not alone as there are many of us who feel that we should have gone simply in alphabetical order. But there is a story to it.

A Little History

We have been using Digital Computers for well around 40-50 years along with keyboards. But little do we know that our keyboard design is actually based off the design of a Typewriter. Now, early Typewriters have been around for over 200 years. However, the first official typewriter would be the one made by Christopher Sholes in 1868. This was the first typewriter that had the QWERTY keyboard layout that we use till date.Why Are Alphabets On A Keyboard Jumbled? 1
Now, this wasn’t a random choice. The layout was selected because the layout prior to this one had all the alphabets in order. The layout is shown below.
Why Are Alphabets On A Keyboard Jumbled? 2
This led to people typing really fast. Since the typewriters of that time were not so sophisticated, it often leads to printing errors or sometimes the Typewriter totally hanging up. Considering all of these problems, They decided to jumble it up so that people would type a little slower.

Why is it still used Today?

Since computer keyboard was directly based on Typewriter layout, they looked similar. Also, the early computers were not as powerful as they are today, so to prevent a delay in receiving the signal from the keyboard, they went with it, With time it just became a convention and since most people were comfortable with the good old QUERTY layout. No one really bothered to change it. There are some other layouts like DVORAK which have been proved more efficient, but since most of the keyboards are already in QUERTY, it has become a convention and they just don’t find the need to switch to a new layout.

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Mohd Sohail
Mohd Sohail


  1. This article is so badly written. There are so many grammer errors, typos, and purely false statements!! The QWERTY layout was invented to prevent jams and increase typing speed, not slow it down. Keep your day job.

  2. QWERTY was not designed solely to slow people down. It was designed to avoid conflicts among the mechanical type strikers in a typewriter. This partly involved regulating the speed at which people type, but it was not the only consideration. QWERTY was designed to give a lot of keystroke sequences to alternating hands that would clear in opposite directions so that the letter of the ascending type striker would be less likely to foul with the descending type striker (like t-h-e, for example). The goal of QWERTY was actually to allow people to type as fast as possible with the mechanical typewriters of the time. This involved avoiding fouling the type strikers by various means. For some sequences of letters this involved slowing down typing speed, and for some it involved speeding up typing speed.
    The order of the letters being the familiar order of the alphabet only aided beginning typists. It made no difference to experienced typists, who don’t have to look to type the correct character on their keyboards. Taking the letters out of alphabetical order was not part of the speed regulation technique of typewriter makers. Newer layouts no longer have to give consideration to mechanical type strikers, but notice that Dvorak and other layouts still don’t use alphabetical order. This is because the efficiency goals of key placement still don’t benefit from alphabetical order.

  3. “There are some other layouts like DVORAK which have been proved more efficient,”
    The studies which “proved” this were conducted by Dvorak himself. A later study showed that there was no benefit, although that study was conducted by a man who disliked Dvorak.
    There still seems to be no objective proof either way.

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