Sure, mobile devices are convenient and, yes, they’ve had an enormous impact on how we work and play. But the very feature that make smartphone and tablets so revolutionary — namely, their compact size — is also what makes them painful and even dangerous for your body in the long term. It shouldn’t be surprising, really, as these devices were built entirely around mobility, not the human body. But all is not lost. You can definitely work on mobile devices comfortably, even in the strangest of places. Just be sure to follow our tips for these 3 major problems.
Problem 1: Improper Screen Height
That intuitive smartphone and tablet touch screen might be fun to navigate, but the fact that it’s attached directly to the keyboard is a problem. It means, essentially, that there’s no way to place both the screen and the keyboard at the proper height at the same time. Just try typing on that keyboard when you’ve leaned your tablet vertically against some books so that it’s the proper distance away from your eyes. Because they fold, laptops are a bit better, but they also lead to a lot of hunching. Together, all three of these mobile devices are tough on your back and neck. They can also lead to eyestrain, as you struggle to read on a screen that is either too near or too far away.
The Solution: A Tablet and Laptop Stand
A tablet and laptop stand is the perfect perch for all of your mobile devices. It allows you to position the screen so that your neck remains in a neutral position. Even better, they’re lightweight and compact, so they won’t take up too much space in your laptop bag. They’re perfect for working in just about any space. Of course, that only takes care of the screen. We’ll discuss the keyboard next.
Problem 2: Tiny Keyboards
Aside from the problems we’ve already covered, the keyboards on mobile devices are also problematic simply because they’re small. That means you’ll need a lot of precise movements in order to get your message right, which can create a lot of strain on your joints and muscles. These keyboards also are, like most traditional keyboards, completely straight, which forces your hands to splay. Additionally, touchscreen keyboards have no tactile feedback and laptops have very little. This means most users press the keys much harder than they need to. Over time and constant use, all of these problems together lead to costly and painful Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs) like carpal tunnel syndrome, which often require surgery.
The Solution: A Mobile Ergonomic Keyboard
Mobile ergonomic keyboards split apart in the middle and tent vertically, so that each person can find the height and angle that allows them to type naturally, without straining too much in any one direction. They also provide plenty of tactile feedback and are lightweight, so they’re easy to take along wherever you go. When paired with a laptop and tablet stand, they’re an essential part of creating a much more comfortable mobile workspace that will keep you healthy, happy and productive for years to come.
Problem 3: Swipe Navigation
Touchscreens and trackpads may make for intuitive and fun navigation, but swiping and pinching are actually pretty awkward motions for the human body. Both require hovering your hands in strained positions, and there is no support for your joints throughout long sessions on your device. Again, the risks here are RSIs and other musculoskeletal injuries.
The Solution: Stylus Pen
A stylus pen is really essential here. It will allow you to navigate your tablet touchscreen with much less precision than navigation via fingers requires. The pen itself absorbs much of the impact when you tap on keys, ensuring you don’t overextend your wrist or joints.
Mobile devices are an essential — and wonderful — part of our modern working lives. But to get the maximum benefit from them, it’s essential that they be paired with ergonomic peripherals so that you can work in comfort and avoid serious injury.
Road Warriors, what are your secrets to working comfortably on the road? Let us know in the blog comments below.