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My thoughts on the seelpy layout after trying it

Posted: 17 Sep 2020, 19:52
by richa
My opinions on Seelpy:
For comparison I average around 100 WPM with Dvorak on TypeRacer (TR) and around 110 WPM on 60s typing sites such as 10fastfingers (10FF) or MonkeyType (MT) and I would say that Dvorak is the main layout that I use. I know how to
touch type on Dvorak, QWERTY, Colemak (although I'm still new to Colemak), and of course now Seelpy—although Dvorak
and QWERTY are the only ones I use frequently (With Colemak being used more as time goes on). An image of the layout: Image

I first learned about Seelpy from hearing Henri talk about it on the Dvorak Discord server, and have been
interested in the layout. This was quite convinient as it was at a time when I was trying to learn as many new
layouts as I could in short amounts of time. Seelpy caught my attention because it was very unique, and something
that not many other people have tried (only Henri to my knowledge). And so I began learning it at around the start
of July (mid August now) with the layout installed on my laptop, using my laptop keyboard (which was the same
keyboard that I used to measure for the other layouts). I have gotten to around 40 WPM on 60s tests (mostly using
MT to test) and 30 WPM average on TR.

My first thoughts on the layout was that it was very tricky to use the layers and made learning the layout
something very different and new. Outside of the 10 home-layout characters, I had to learn "chords" for basic letter
outputs. I think this made learning the layout quite hard as it added new levels of complexity for what could have
just been a single keystroke on a different layout. When I started I mostly used keybr.com with custom lessons that
were provided by Henri to progressively use the whole home-row and all the layers on them, learning all the
lowercase letters. Once I was confident with that I moved to MT and mostly did the 10 word tests as they were much
shorter and manageable and I was averaging around 20 WPM. From here I just continued to occasionally use Seelpy
doing the same 10 word tests on MT for about another 2 weeks. Once I started to get around 30+ WPM on Seelpy I
decided to try out TR and see if I could learn the uppercase letters and maybe some punctuation too. I began typing
on TR and also using it on Discord to talk with people more casually with a layout reference which was on the
screen as I didn't, and still don't, know all of the uppercase letters and symbols. I continued to occasionally
use/ test Seelpy in my free time and got up to my final speeds this way.
As I began to use Seelpy more I got more comfortable with using the modifiers for regular letters, however,
I still felt that it was a large disadvantage speed-wise. The precision that is required to use the modifier keys
just makes things so complicated and turns a simple all lowercase sentence into something where you have to chord
keys together accurately. Like turning the Normal 10FF test into the Advanced one for the sake of the novelty of
Seelpy. I do however think that it does have many ergonomic benefits due to very little travel distance to other
keys as it is mostly home row, and in that mostly the 8 keys that the fingers rest on anyway.

The pros for Seelpy for me would firstly be the ergonomic factors of most of the typing being done on the
home-row only. This could be good for an accessibility feature if someone needed a layout like this to type, however
I don't think that this would be viable for someone just looking for an ergonomic layout to use (as a contender to
Dvorak or Colemak). Another pro that I can think of is just the novelty of using a unique and interesting layout.
It's definately quite cool to see someone type with Seelpy, and quite interesting as almost no one uses it. This in
itself is its own merit for people who would like to be unique or special.
The cons for Seelpy are that firstly it is very hard to use. This can make it difficut, even for people who
know the layout and can use it "fluently", to use in a more normal circumstance such as writing a report. Along with
this is that it takes more effort to use Seelpy compared to other layouts. It takes a lot more mental effort as I
found that I had to concentrate much more when using Seelpy. However, this could have been due to my inexperience
with the layout, the fact that I'm still quite new to using Seelpy, or my slower speeds. I also think that the
heavy reliance on layers adds to the complexity and makes it very hard to use in a "normal" setting.
One improvement that I would suggest for Seelpy is that the more common lowercase letters get put on the
top row as that is a way that would speed up typing speed, at the cost of the novelty of Seelpy and also in
ergonomics. I think that this would be good as some lowercase letters appear more frequently than the capital
letter that is on the home layer of the top row, and I believe that it is much easier and faster to reach a
top-row-home-layer key than it is to reach an AltGr-layer-home-row key. This has also been done with some of the
more common punctuation which already breaks the CLP (Capital, Lowercase, Punctuation) format that Seelpy is based
off (' . " Space) which is on the homerow, as well as hypen and underscore being on the top row.

In conclusion I think that Seelpy is too complicated and hard for use outside of anything other than an
accessibility layout. The complexity is a big hinderance speed-wise, and my progress with it has been much slower
compared to other layouts (this could also be due to me using it less). However, I would like to continue using
Seelpy for fun to try and get to a higher speed and hopefully learning all the characters and being much faster
with it where I might be able to give a better opinion on it. If there are any more questions feel free to ask me!
Discord: richa#3816

References:
The original layout
Description 1
Description 2
The .json file of the ISO implementation
Monkey-Type
TypeRacer
10FastFingers
Keybr.com