There are several different layouts for the keyboard including QWERTY, Dvorak, as well as AZERTY. This article will focus on the AZERTY layout, which many are very unfamiliar with.
The AZERTY layout was named just as the QWERTY layout was named. The first six letters on the top row of letters spells AZERTY. This specific keyboard layout allows for the typist to make use of the special accents and other specific characters that our standard keyboard with the QWERTY layout simply does not support.
The History of AZERTY
Starting in 1865, secretaries began testing the keyboard layouts, which included the QWERTY as well as the AZERTY. The alphanumeric AZERTY layout first appeared in France within the last decade of the 19th century. Another keyboard layout known as ZHJAY, which was originally created by Albert Navarre, did not see success since secretaries had already grown accustomed to the AZERTY and QWERTY keyboard layouts. The AZERTY layout is the standard keyboard layout in Belgium and both Belgium and France have their own variants of the layout.
The layout is simply another keyboard layout except this one allows the functionality of special symbols and characters. The AZERTY layout is different from the QWERTY layout in France and Belgium in that the A and the Q are switched as is Z and W. The M is simply moved to the other side of L (the right of), and the number symbols are still above the letters in the same position but cannot be typed as we would type them so the shift key must be pressed in order to type the numbers. Without using the shift key, you will type the symbols and characters shown on the keys.
Advantages of AZERTY
The only advantage of the AZERTY layout that I can see is the ability and ease of use of special characters.
Disadvantages of AZERTY
As for disadvantages of the AZERTY, if it were to be used in the US, we would simply be stuck. It would be a very new technology to us as it is not what we are accustomed to. However, in France, the disadvantage to using the AZERTY layout is simply that some of the symbols and characters needed for the French language are not easily accessible.