By: G. Leo
The first task in designing the system was choosing the base letters. The primary goal was getting common letters on the base. The secondary goal was to provide a memorable name for the system that could also serve as the URL.
Using the excellent analysis by Peter Norvig as a starting point, I decided A,E,I,O, and T had to be on base keys with some of H,N,R,S as well.
IO stood out as a suitable URL suffix. Actual word prefixes like EARTHS, HEARTS, STERNA, ANTRES (thanks scrabble
cheating helper website) were either too ordinary or not catchy. I wanted something unique and easy to remember. From here, I tried adding a few less-common letters. ARTSEY.IO rose to the top quickly.
Y is not a particularly common letter in English. However, since 18 letters had to be comboed anyway, I thought putting it on base was a reasonable compromise to have a memorable name and URL that would help new users memorize the base letters instantly.
Based on the Norvig analysis, with ARTSEYIO on the base layer, over 60% of typing (in English) occurs on non-comboed keys.
There were two goals in designing the alpha combos. The primary goal was making them easy to memorize, and the secondary goal was making them efficient and comfortable enough for practical use without having any alpha combo use keys from two rows at the same time.
Generally, more common letters are on “easier” combos and less common letters are on combos involving more keys, weaker fingers, or less comfortable patterns. Memorizing the alpha combos may seem difficult. It is easier to learn the letters in groups. You might find your own patten in the letters to leverage in memorization, but here are some to get started:
D, F, and G are alphabetically close together and all very similar. The F looks like the top of a capital F and the D looks like the back of a capital D.
Notice the relationship between H and I. Just remember “hi!” Plus, the H looks like the top of a capital H.
K, L, M, N are all on the bottom row. The relationship between M and N is especially easy to memorize. The L is just the M combo moved over by one key and the K combo just removes one key from the M combo.
P, and Q are the same combo but on different rows. Plus, they look a bit like the lower-case version of the letter.