What's a good way to get characters such as é œ ç ï onto intuitive keyboard shortcuts? Having to break typing to reach up and click buttons is rather jarring.
Your computer already comes with a layout for International characters because it is an ANSI accepted layout. This zine is specifically about switching to a Dvorak keyboard, but has really good instructions on how to switch layouts for both Windows and Apple near the end. http://www.dvzine.org/zine/01-toc.html
Dvorak is also ANSI accepted and on there, but Dvorak international is not. There is a good homemade version for it here http://arjenvankol.com/dvorak.php
Hope that helps.
Alt Gr + a/e/i/o/u turns them into á é í ó ú.
If you want others, you will have to remember alt codes, change the keyboard layout or get special software.
altgr + key with accent, base key. Btw, duolingo doesn't care if you just use the base character instead, which is very handy for timed practice.