Learning a new 60% layout

During my time trying out different kinds of mechanical keyboards, I noticed that I had to adapt to a few different typing styles. This was very noticeable when I was typing on my Vortex Core – a 40% keyboard. Without a number row and the lack of certain dedicated punctuation keys, it changed the way I used the keyboard significantly. After using the Core for a month daily, I adapted and now I can type on it almost as fast as I did on a full-sized keyboard. In fact, it felt like training wheels – when I went back to a full-sized layout, I was able to type faster than before. I’m not sure if it was in my head and I was limiting my typing speed to begin with. For what it’s worth, I’ve come to appreciate having a dedicated number row on a keyboard now.

Since I have a new 60% keyboard coming in later this year (parts by parts, sadly – building your own keyboard is a test of patience) which utilizes the layout of the HHKB (Happy Hacking Keyboard) I decided to get used to it in advance. So right now, on my Anne Pro, I’ve remapped certain keys to reflect the HHKB layout. My Caps Lock key is now Control, my \ key has been swapped with Backspace, and I’ve mapped the HHKB arrows to the board as well. The learning curve hasn’t been as steep as using a 40%, but I immediately noticed the benefits of the layout. I can accomplish a lot more with my hands now, while moving a whole lot less than before.

Muscle memory still kicks in for some shortcuts (Ctrl + Z/W/C/V), instead of backspacing I hit the \ key, and I also keep hitting Control where it used to be + Backspace to delete words. It will definitely take a while before I’m completely comfortable with this layout, but I think it won’t take a long time to do so. Maybe the blockers on the keyboard will help with this issue in the future.

As yes, you’ve read it right – I have decided to get a DIY mechanical keyboard. Fortunately the model I was interested in doesn’t require any soldering, so it should be a walk in the park to assemble. The bad part is it that all the parts to build it won’t be arriving until August – assuming there are no delays. Fingers crossed! It should be a fun activity that I’m looking forward to. I might even stream the build process on Twitch, we’ll see. I ordered myself a Tokyo 60, Kailh Box Navy switches and GMK Red Samurai to deck the board out. I’ve only seen renders and photographs at this point, but I think it’s gonna be siiiiick. Maybe I’ll get brave enough to learn soldering after this board. We’ll see.

So anyway, earlier today when I was fumbling around for some hotkeys on my keyboard, I was thinking to myself – is it worth sacrificing how I type currently to relearn a new method of typing? Are the hours put in to learn a new typing style worth the gains when using another? I know I’m not going to be a world record holder at typing fast, and neither am I aiming to be one, so why am I throwing myself all these challenges? I guess I enjoy challenging myself with such menial tasks. It’s like unlocking a new skill in my typing skill tree. Next step would be typing on an ortholinear keyboard, and then maybe learning Colemak or Dvorak.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *