I have spent a lot of time considering how to maximize my typing experience. So much so that I type with the COLEMAK layout and own a mechanical keyboard that elevates at an angle and is split in the middle for ergonomics. So, when I saw Monica Dinculescu’s “How annoying is too annoying” input delay test page, I knew I had to give it a shot to see how patient I could be with my beloved keyboarding hobby.
To test my own patience, let me tell you the story of how I developed my keyboarding obsession WHILE upping the input delay for each paragraph I write. (This paragraph was written with a 5ms delay. Annoyance level: Not annoying.)
10ms delay: As a child, I taught myself the hunt and peck typing method so I could send emails on AOL and chat with my friends on ICQ and AIM. I used the hunt and peck method until high school.
Annoyance level: Not annoying.
30ms delay: As a high school sophomore, I took keyboarding class as an elective. We learned from Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. Over the course of three months, I listened to Five Iron Frenzy’s The End is Near from front to back on my old Sony Discman during every class as inspiration while I did my lessons. I got 100%+ in the class. It remains one of my proudest academic accomplishments.
Annoyance level: Not annoying. Also, I just learned that Mavis Beacon is not an actual person.
50ms delay: My Mavis Beacon training got me all the way through the rest of high school. I remember feeling a noticeable difference in my typing from the moment I graduated from my keyboarding class. I hoped Mavis was proud.
Annoyance level: Not annoying. Some characters are showing up later than I expect, but it’s fine.
100ms delay: Two years ago, I got the great idea to abandon my Mavis Beacon training to try to learn a non-QWERTY typing layout. I had heard it could make me a more efficient typist. I tried Dvorak first because it was the only other layout I knew of. It was awful. I quit within a week.
Annoyance level: Getting annoying, but less annoying than learning Dvorak.
200ms delay: After quitting Dvorak, I investigated many options before finally settling on COLEMAK because it shares a lot of keys with QWERTY. It took me two months to learn, but now I type at a normal speed on it, and it feels great.
Annoyance level: High. Sometimes the editor skipped characters or they took forever to show up on the page.
386ms delay (my result from the “Surprise Me” button): Despite my love of COLEMAK, if you’re looking to switch from QWERTY, I wouldn’t recommend it. It was a hassle to learn and I was typing very slowly for weeks. But, I don’t want to spend the time switching back. Sorry, Mavis.
Annoyance level: Very high. Characters sometimes take 20 seconds to appear on the page, and my laptop’s computer is spinning up like a jet engine. I have made so many typos and each one takes forever to fix. Don’t ever type with this much delay.