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Monday, 19 September 2016

THIS IS THE REASON WHY THE KEYS ON A COMPUTER AND SMARTPHONES KEYBOARDS ARE NOT ARRANGED IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER



There is so much fun in curiousity, asking yourself puzzling questions about the wonderful things surrounding you. The word computer is not new; it has existed many years ago. The modern days computer were not what we see them to be today, just like man, computer has undergone several generations of changes, evolving from huge, bulky, noisy, heavy, high power consuming and heat generating machines to the present day portable and better adapted machines.

One major component associated with the computer which aids it to receive instructions from users is the computer KEYBOARD. The computer keyboard is a very vital component of a computer which has no proper substitute as at now. Not only on computers alone, the keyboard also plays a vital role on your smart phones, without it, how would you input and save a friends number? Send text message or chat on social media?

So you can see how important that tray-like structure with mounds of keys is. Now, one puzzling stuff about the keyboard which gets me wondering each time I turn on my laptop to compose my blog post is the arrangement of the keys on the keyboard. I kept on asking myself; why wasn’t these keys arranged alphabetically from A, B, C, D…Z instead of the Q, W, E, R, T, Y, U… arrangement that we have been seeing? Is there any special reason or a kind of myth surrounding it?

All these questions bubbling through my mind prompted me to go on a little research about the computer keyboard and like seriously, doing this research just reminded me of the tough times I had when tons of assignment were dosed out to us while in school. Successfully, I was able to find out some good reasons about the non alphabetical arrangement of the keys on the computer keyboard which I am going to share with you in brief. 

THE REASON WHY KEYS ON A COMPUTER/MOBILE PHONES KEYBOARDS ARE NOT ALPHABETICALLY ARRANGED

Before we get into the business of the day, let me also ask you; have you been wondering why these keys are not alphabetically arranged? If “Yes”, then we were once on the same track but not anymore because I actually found out the reason for myself, so here is the mystery behind this issue.

In my research, one recurring answer which seems to be the most occurring explanation behind the non alphabetical arrangement of keys on a computer keyboard is that it was actually designed to slow down typist because the first design accustomed to the keyboard usually resulted to jammed (not able to move anymore) keys and computer components as a result of high typing speed.

If you have seen a typist typing before, then you will be amazed with speed at which he or she does it. What that meant was that, the first layout usually resulted in the keyboard keys not being able to move anymore (sticky) which impeded typing. Let’s take our minds back to the 80’s. The very first keyboard was invented by Christopher Latham Sholes in 1868 and this keyboard had its keys arranged serially from A to Z.


This made typing very fast and easy but on the other hand, it boosted the jamming of keys. Due to the key jamming problems, this layout was later replaced with something similar to it which I would say “had a semi alphabetical order” arrangement. This layout was also changed due to keys jamming resulting from the side by side placement of keys which increased typing speed.

Back then, when once a typewriter key gets jammed or a typographical error is committed, the typist had only one option which included unjamming the keys, ripping out the destroyed paper, getting your hands stained all over with inks and washing them off, inserting a new paper and starting all over again from the scratch!

You can really sense the kind of frustration those guys went through; I’m glad I was born within the modern keyboard period (lol!).

 As time flew, Sholes and Partners latter sold their keyboard and typewriter design to Remington & Sons who then manufactured the first commercial typewriter. It was actually this company “Remington & Sons” who then rearranged the letters on the keyboard and adopted the QWERTY layout as the standard layout which is what we are still struggling with today.

The QWERTY layout is arranged in a manner that makes high speed typing difficult therefore reducing the jamming rate. One more observation, Remington & Sons actually made the typing of the word TYPEWRITER very easy by arranging all the letters on the first row, though still mixed up like a clueless word puzzle game. You can confirm this by taking a simple look at the letters on the first row of your keyboard.

Over to you, how do you see the new layout? Do you think Remington & Sons made a big mistake by changing the layout? Has it caused more wrong than good? Is it frustrating to you? If you were given the choice of selecting your own personal layout, which one would you have choosen?

Kindly share your thoughts with us; let’s keep the gist hot and interesting by dropping your replies on the comment section. Please don’t forget to share this and amuse your friends, I bet you they may not know the reason why the keys are not alphabetically arranged. Cheers!

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