27 May Pain Free Typing Part 1: Choosing the Right Keyboard
Once upon a time typing was really simple. There was something called a typewriter and you sat down and typed! Then technology jumped forward and the era of personal computers were born. The keyboard you used was the one that came with the computer. At work, we all used what was given to us.
Clearly, we are in a whole new world when it comes to keyboarding options. Wired. Wireless. Split. Standard. Mac. PC. Tented. Portable. Multi-Media. Back-lit. Specific to Gaming. QWERTY. DVORAK. Mini. Fold-able. And even virtual. So what’s one to do when it comes to deciding which keyboard to use?
To help, we have provided a list of keyboards by type (vs. brand) and listed out the pro’s and cons of each.
As an added bonus, here are some of our favorite ergo keyboards:
- Gold Touch or Gold Touch Go! Split Keyboard
- Kinesis Freestyle Split Keyboard
- Microsoft Arc Mini Keyboard
- Posturrite Mini Number Slide Keyboard
No matter which keyboard works for you, how and where you place your keyboard is essential for comfort while typing on it! Make sure to follow these guidelines and you will be able to enjoy your keyboard and work comfortably.
- Keyboard Height: Set your keyboard at a height that allows your elbows to be level with the top of the keyboard or slightly higher than the keyboard. Another way to think of it is to have your elbows be at approximately 90 degrees or slightly more open than 90 degrees with the keyboard being parallel to the floor.
- Keyboard Distance: Once your keyboard height is set, make sure that your keyboard is placed so that your upper arms hang vertically. Think ear over shoulder, shoulder over elbow and elbow over hip. This will help to ensure that you are sitting with good balanced posture.
- Where to Rest Your Wrists: There is great debate in the ergo world about wrist and arm rests. Our take is simple. While typing (just like playing the piano) it is best to avoid resting your wrists or forearms on any surface. The last place you want to put pressure on is on the carpal tunnel. In addition, if you rest your wrist on a surface (that includes a desk edge, wrist rest and laptop wrist area) then your wrists and fingers are forced to do all the work and you lose the ability to have your forearm aid your movements. (more about this in future posts)
- Typing Force: If you think about it, your fingers, hands and arms weight more than your keyboard keys. Use gravity as an aid and allow your fingers to drop vs push into the keys. It takes a lot less force that you think to type, so ease up the next time you type.
- Outlier Keys: When we strike keys such as enter, shift, backspace, tab and delete the tendency is to twist the wrist to the side and/or stretch the little finger to the extreme right or left to reach these keys. This can set you up for strain and discomfort. Instead, move your hand and arm together, pivoting at the elbow to reach these keys. it is easiest if you use either the middle, ring or both the middle and ring fingers to strike the outliers.
Vivienne & Andrew, PBE Co-Founders
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