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FAQs

  • Is the Qwerty keyboard a poor design?

    When invented in 1878, it was a good design for the mechanical typewriter because it achieved its purpose of slowing the typist to prevent type bars from jamming. In these days of the electronic keyboard, its design is obsolete. The professionals who were typing in those days – typists and secretaries – didn’t mind the suffering and struggle of Qwerty, but everyone is typing on keyboards today and a good design is one that gives priority to human needs for ease, efficiency and comfort.
  • What other alternatives are there?

    In the early days, there were alphabetical keyboards, but these didn’t take into account the frequency of occurrence among letters, and so the common keys were not conveniently placed.

    The Dvorak keyboard grouped the vowels and most common consonants together on the homerow and was able to achieve faster speed. But since it uses the same physical keys as Qwerty, and thus creating interference, it has been shown to be more prone to errors than Qwerty, and just as difficult to learn.

  • Why does Qwerty take so long to learn?

    Since the Qwerty arrangement is not logical or intuitive, learning it is like learning non-sensical letter arrangements – requiring repetition and drill, for weeks and months. Truth is, Qwerty wasn’t designed for ease of learning.
  • What is Qwerty Economics?

    An economic theory stating that when a product has been in the market long enough, a phenomena called path dependence creates a situation of inter-related dependencies that make it difficult if not impossible for new (and better) products to crash in. Qwerty is often quoted as the classic example since the Dvorak – a supposedly better keyboard was not able to dethrone it.

    New findings are beginning to cast question on this theory, as it has been found that Dvorak‘s superiority was far from proven,and that many examples exist which prove contrary to the theory. Market behaviour will eventually gravitate towards quality and efficiency, and what best meets the consumers‘ needs. See Fable of the Keys: http://wwwpub.utdallas.edu/~liebowit/keys1.html

  • How is abKey® different

    The arrangement of the letters is alphabetical as well as logical. They are in related, recognizable groups of fives, threes and twos so as to tap into the associative learning disposition of the brain. The vowels are grouped together as are the most common consonants, and these are all on the homerow with the most common function keys, making typing much more efficient.

    Thus, touch-typing can be learned in ONE-hour. Also, the keys are staggered in Qwerty, again to prevent type bars from getting in one another‘s way-increasing difficulty and errors. The keys in abKey® are aligned for ease of use and accuracy.

  • How long will it take to learn the abKey®?

    Most users of Qwerty take months or years, first to learn the layout by tedious drill and repetition, and then practising for months on end to achieve speed and mastery. abKey®, because its layout is alphabetical and logical, can be learned in an hour or less. Mastery and speed still require practise, but only for a fraction of the time. Users have been known to take just days to equal and surpass the Qwerty speed that they had taken years to acquire.
  • Why are we not given a choice of keyboards by PC vendors?

    There are many possible reasons. One main reason is that none wants to be the first one to make the big change as it entails putting in large initial investments of effort and money.

    Secondly, they felt that users are happy with the Qwerty. Users, on the other hand does not complain since Qwerty is the only choice available thus setting up a vicious cycle. See Robyn Peterson‘s article: “The Sad State of Keyboards and Mice” – http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,3973,1132049,00.asp

  • What are the other problems of Qwerty?

    Most users are silent sufferers except for those who filed for workmen compensation when the problem becomes acute enough to affect their occupational health. But problems are legion, and have been well-documented in such articles as The Curse of Qwerty http://www.tks.buffalo.edu/~scomings/Sgc/dv-art.html

    Users who have mastered Qwerty, usually through many years of hard usage and practice, are specially vulnerable because they would tend to type fast – on a keyboard designed to slow them down. Ever tried driving a truck like it‘s a sports car ? Something is bound to give!

    Also, this is the day of convergence, where manufacturers are focused on enabling users to move seamlessly and continuously across platforms – so you can be doing something with the TV during breakfast at home, then continue with your smartphone or tablet during your commute, and when you reach your office complete the activity on your computer. Qwerty is not designed to work across platforms, causing different input systems to be developed for various platforms. This causes users to have to learn multiple systems and switch between them across platforms – a confusing and difficult state of affairs.

    abKey® is an integrated system that morphs easily and logically to be optimal in every platform, so users only need to learn one system.

  • What country is the home of abKey®?

    You figure it out :  ) The abKey® idea was conceived in the USA, while the inventor, a graduate student from Singapore, discovered the alphabet‘s most common letters while watching the TV program Wheel of Fortune. Although he still travels to the US frequently, he lives in Singapore mostly, and in London and China a few months in the year. The design was patented with the help of a British Patent lawyer. Its design was refined in Singapore, by the Industrial Design team of PSB Corp., headed by a German ID expert. Consultants and developers who contributed in one way or another come from Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Spain, UK, and USA. Manufacturing is in Asia (Singapore and China) and abKey will be marketed throughout the world as a global input system in multiple devices, through BuyTell a global network, with a multi-national team of members.