I’m French, and I’m Switching to a QWERTY Keyboard
I remember the day I had to buy a Magic Keyboard at Apple in New York City. My 2016 MacBook Pro got a few keys stuck (thank you butterfly keyboard…), so I had to buy a keyboard to make sure I could work in the next few days until I could find the right moment to send my laptop for repair. We all know that New York City is a diverse city. I was confident about the fact that they would have a few French AZERTY keyboards lying around.
I was wrong. When I asked the Apple employee for a French keyboard, he looked at me surprised and said: “What’s that?”
The keyboard needed to be ordered and would take 3 or 4 days to get to New York. I decided to send my MacBook for repair instead, as I assumed it would take shorter than that anyway.
So I went to the Genius Bar of that same Apple Store and asked for the keyboard replacement. I asked if it could be done quickly as the laptop was my only computing device. The guy told me that they might even be able to do it the same day. Amazing.
Then he opened my computer and saw the French keyboard. “Oh, actually, that’ll take longer, we’ll have to order a French top case, then mount it on the Mac. It will take a few days, a week max.”
This entire story was reasonably annoying. But I never considered switching to QWERTY just yet. Typing French on a non-French keyboard is a nightmare, mostly because of accents (and the fact that I’ve been typing on a French keyboard forever.)
A fez days ago, I decided to order a new keyboard to change my home office setup. I could order a French keyboard online, but it would cost me $30 extra in shipping, and it would take around a month to get here in New York instead of a few days.
This was too much. I ordered a QWERTY keyboard; it felt like the right time to switch.
Rewiring My Brain…
If you compare the AZERTY and QWERTY layouts side by side, you’ll notice that only a few letters change positions. You may think it’s not that big a deal.
But when you’ve been using a specific layout forever, you don’t actually know where the letters are. I’m usually typing without looking at my keyboard because typing relies on my muscle memory. You could only change the position of one letter that it would mess up the way I type.
This is exactly what happened when I switched. I have to rewire my brain. I need to get this new layout into my muscle memory. The learning process is extremely exhausting and painful.
I’ve tried typing a few emails in French, and it’s even harder because I now need to memorize what the accents shortcuts are.
I also need to learn all the punctuation and formatting again, which may seem like a small detail, but it’s not. If you switch the layout of your keyboard, you’ll realize how many commas and periods you use.
As a result of all these changes, my typing speed has been reduced by almost 50%, and I’m exhausted and ready for a break after replying to 2 emails.
…For The Better
Using a QWERTY layout is a lot more flexible for me. As I’m currently living in the United States, I can now shop for computers and keyboards without having to import everything. I can also buy used gear, and I’ll be able to sell my older equipment.
If I decide to travel to a way less accessible location, like a small island in South East Asia, I’ll be able to buy a QWERTY keyboard there, while ordering a French keyboard on the internet would take forever to get to me.
Switching to a QWERTY layout is a lot of effort and work, but it’s also necessary if you’re French, and you decided to travel the world a little bit.
A few years back, the French government was talking about changing the French keyboard layout to a new system. A system that would be a lot more efficient in theory. The project got abandoned because of how hard it would be for people to adapt to the new keyboard. A few people were also sharing the idea that if the French government wanted to change the layout of the keyboard, they should just go for the QWERTY international layout, as it would make a lot more sense.
I am typing this story on my new keyboard, with the new layout. I would say that it almost took me twice as much time to write it, and I’m sure that it’s full of typos. But it’s a learning process, and I know that it’ll be best in the long run.
Breaking your habits, this much is hard. If you’re already using a QWERTY layout, congrats, you won’t have to go through this. But maybe you now know that people have to go through it. If you’re using any other layout and are thinking about switching to QWERTY: go ahead, it’s doable. It’s going to be hard, but that’s the right thing to do, and it will pay off in the long run.
Do you feel like you tried everything to grow on social media and especially Instagram? Hopefully, what follows will be the last thing you will have to do to reach your goals.
Get the best Instagram Growth knowledge in your inbox & book me for a free 20-minute consulting call.