Whether you regularly type up reports for company meetings, are the designated e-Book writer, or simply spend a lot of time responding to emails, typing for hours on end is a daily reality for most people in today’s workplace. It’s often a painful one, too, since repeating the same fine motor movements over and over again puts you at high risk of developing a Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), particularly carpal tunnel syndrome. An ergonomic keyboard can help mitigate this and even prevent the pain associated with such injuries. But, there are many manufacturers who claim that their keyboards are ergonomic when they’re anything but. Here are a few key things to look for to ensure you’re really getting yourself the best ergonomic keyboard.
The reason that most non-ergonomic keyboards cause so much pain is that they’re completely one-size-fits all. Think about the diversity of people out there, and you can easily see how silly this is. With different sized hands and wrists, not to mention the many different ways we type, a keyboard needs to be adjustable in order to provide you with the utmost comfort. Otherwise, your muscles have no choice but to strain awkwardly so that you can type. This, unfortunately, can easily lead to injury. Ideally, an ergonomic keyboard can be adjusted on both the horizontal and vertical planes. This way you can float your hands naturally over the keyboard without straining your wrists too far up, down, or to the left or right.
One of the biggest problems with out of the box keyboards is that they’re flat and straight. You’ve probably never noticed this before, but take a look at what happens when you type on one of these keyboards. See how your hands splay out to the side? With a split keyboards, your hands can approach from a natural angle, without any twisting or straining. This significantly reduces the amount of pressure and tension placed on your wrists, joints and forearm.
3) Tactile Feedback
In order for a keyboard to be ergonomic, it has to provide some kind of indication to you that the key has been properly pressed and that no more pressure need be applied. Without tactile feedback, you’re bound to hit the keys far harder than they need to be pressed, again straining your tendons. In the long term, this kind of force can cause direct injury and swelling. Eventually, this can narrow the carpal tunnel and press on your nerve (i.e. give you carpal tunnel syndrome).
The best ergonomic keyboard for you will keep you happy and comfortable, which will up your productivity rates and keep your mind focused on the job. For more help in finding the best ergonomic keyboard for you, we highly recommend reading, Choosing the Best Ergonomic Keyboard: Five Essential Features.