i stumbled upon a keyboard analyzer app which took an interesting approach to testing layouts via a bigram corpus. This makes for a computationally efficient analyzer with the added advantage of a standalone app versus the common web based analyzers (and their hidden algorithms).
Its convenience, once installed and modified to handle the thumb I row and BEAKL weightings, has facilitated further layout evaluations during this continuing Covid-19 space. Enter BEAKL Bi..
Whereas the BEAKL Ji layout applied a simple alteration to the outer left hand pinkie column, BEAKL Bi relocates the index finger B to the pinkie finger making for a more significant layout change. The center three columns remain the same, but the BQVWXZ keys find new positions.
The QZ keys find themselves in the upper pinkie finger positions, and the JX keys in the lower pinkie finger positions. Thus, the four least used keys occupy the most penalized locations by frequency rank. Similarly, the BWV keys fell into their pinkie and index (reach) locations by frequency rank—it just worked out in that satisfying way with the particular BEAKL weighting scheme used!
The layout places the X in an better pinkie location without sacrificing the V key’s (BEAKL) effort, and the B now has better bigram rolls without the index finger reach. So far, it feels a very comfortable transition.
There is a certain beauty to the ranked placement of these letters which happened to produce the best score of all the layouts on the analyzer (from a BEAKL finger effort perspective)—but metrics are not the final test. Time will tell whether this new layout displaces BEAKL Zi as my daily driver..