Layout selection for keyboard layout testing

25 May 2021

Previous tests used up to 360 layouts.

However, many of these were not actually practical in the real world, minor variants of each other, or "development" versions.

So I have cleaned up the collection, removing many layouts, in three categories:

  • Bad for your hands: primarily layouts which rely on using Altgr on ANSI format, or others like Arensito on ANSI, which force your hands into unnatural positions.
  • Bad for your head: Overly complex letter layouts, typically the various Seelpy / Essie style layouts, which put upper case and lower case on different keys.
  • "Development" or minor variant verions.

I also added new layouts from various people, bringing the total tested back up to 355. These are either ANSI, Ergodox or Matrix formats.

I converted the Ergolinear formats to Matrix. there were two versions of Ergolinear, and it was getting messy managing. I also removed the ISO layouts from the tests, they were mostly non-English anyway, apart from QWERTY or Colemak variants.

For large families from one author (e.g. BEAKL or HandsDown) I tried to keep the best on each format. For large families with multiple authors (e.g. QWERTY, Dvorak, Colemak), I tried to keep them all... each layout typically represents many hours (days/weeks/months) of someone's time, and we should respect that.