When you look down at your keyboard and you will see QWERTY on the first letter row. This keyboard can be found from computer to smartphone. The question is why QWERTY on the first place?
This computer keyboard we have actually come from typewriter era. The most famous designer for typewriter is Christopher Latham Soles. Some of his early design is pretty alphabetical like this:
The problem is in typewriter when two letters are pressed together it will be stuck. In English the most common letter combination is ‘th’ and ‘sh’. So now, to avoid this, Soles changed his design. In 1873 it became something like this:
As we can see, this design is pretty similar with the modern QWERTY. The difference are . and R position, A and Z, and M on the middle row. The other thing if you notice there is no 0 or 1. Back then, writer used capital I for 1 and capital O for 0.
After that, Soles sold his design to Remington for production. For some reasons, Remington changed the design slightly, which becomes no other than QWERTY.
However, QWERTY is still not popular until 1893. This was when all the big manufacturer - Remington, Smith, Densmore, Yost, dan Caligraph merged together and made QWERTY as a standard.
Then, the public started to learn typing with QWERTY layout and the rest is history.
But, Is QWERTY the most efficient layout?
Well, who knows. The competition of QWERTY layout is DVORAK. DVORAK is designed to be faster and more accurate by positioning most common used letter on the middle row. However, DVORAK can be more efficient, can be learned, but it still not commonly used and probably will not ever replace QWERTY.