Stop Looking At the Keyboard If You Want to Type Faster

SXSW Interactive

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Do you think you're a good typist? Das Keyboard thinks that if you trained yourself to type without looking at the keyboard you'd become much more proficient. That's precisely why one of their models is all blank keys, so you can train yourself out of the habit of looking. I sat down with one and went through a little typing test at SXSW Interactive to see if they're onto something.

I think the last time I took a typing test was back in middle school. It was the game where you raced around the track with your friends based on your words-typed-per-minute. I consider myself a pretty good typist when I get in a zone, so I was intrigued at the chance to put things to the test here.

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One of the Das Keyboard representatives set things up and I went typing away. For my first run, it took a bit to keep my hands from getting lost out of "home" position — since this IBM Model M style keyboard is a bit different than the Macbook keys I'm used to. I failed miserably, with lots of mistypes and backspacing required.

So I popped my knuckles and tried again, and this second time...ah, much better. I can definitely see how this approach will improve your typing speed, and in this short little session it was surprising to see how quickly my mind untrained itself from looking at the board. Maybe this is why stenographs (the court transcribing keyboards) don't have key printed on them as well.

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Das Keyboard has a few models available (some with printed keys in case you chicken out). But all are based on this classic keyboard style they (among with many others) hail as the king of keyboards. The key response was quick and responsive, and they even have silent models for use in places where that audible keyboard "click" may not be appreciated.

I'm not sure if I'm bold enough to make the move to no keys but maybe I'd now consider covering my keys in Washi tape for a longer trial.

(Images: Chris Perez)