Something I’ve never thought of reading before: the history of the QWERTY keyboard:
With the assistance of […] Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soule, [Christopher Sholes] built an early writing machine for which a patent application was filed in October 1867. However, Sholes’ “Type Writer” had many defects, [including] the tendency of the typebars to clash and jam if struck in rapid succession.
Sholes struggled for the next six years to perfect his invention, making many trial-and-error rearrangements of the original machine’s alphabetical key arrangement in an effort to reduce the frequency of typebar clashes. Eventually he arrived at a four-row, upper case keyboard approaching the modern QWERTY standard.
As Donald Norman says in The Psychology/Design of Everyday Things, “We are committed to it, even though it was designed to satisfy constraints that no longer apply, was based on a style of typing no longer used, and is difficult to learn.”
It made me think: what other ‘everyday things’ are committed to past constraints, and in my work do I design to any?