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Save our QWERTY

I wonder if the rise of text-speak and Internet shorthand will be the thing that finally dooms the QWERTY keyboard to the scrapheap? I’ve talked before about how the layout of the traditional keyboard lends itself to typing certain words, but of course that’s typing words in full; typing in abbreviated form for chat rooms and instant messaging is a different matter. For maximum speed (and let’s face it, that’s the reason for abbreviating), an alternative layout would probably be better. And since the original reason for the QWERTY format – to prevent the metal arms of a manual typewriter jamming – no longer applies, maybe it’s time for a change.

Perhaps on this new keyboard, R, U and C would be next to each other (ru coming round later? cu then for ‘are you coming round later? see you then’). Maybe the numbers would be mixed up among the letters (m8, going 2 shop 4 milk for ‘mate, going to shop for milk’) and little-used letters like Z and Q could be off to the side, out of the way. Speaking of out of the way, punctuation marks could be off where the current number pad is, since no-one punctuates abbreviated text.

Oh dear, I don’t think I like this idea. Let’s stick with good old QWERTY after all.

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Sharon Creese

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