In a recent research study conducted by the San Jose University, standard and/or alternative designed computer keyboards were tested to determine if they increase or decrease exposure to ergonomic risk factors by users. Two popular alternative keyboard designs, the Goldtouch and Natural Ergonomic Keyboard (NEK), in conjunction with the standard QWERTY keyboard design, were tested to determine which one provided the greatest benefit to the user. The benefits were defined as having minimal or no exposure to ergonomic risk factors such as awkward postures (ulnar deviation and wrist extension greater than 5-degrees), static postures, and contact stress. In addition, typing speed and error were also assessed to determine learning curves associated with new motor learning of an alternate keyboard design.
Result of Study:
- Goldtouch users have less error in the number of words typed per minute compared with the standard QWERTY keyboard which was their original keyboard.
- The NEK group showed an increase with incorrect keying technique/planting of the wrists with keying tasks. Note: It is also worthy to note that four of the 30 participants for the NEK group dropped out due to physical discomfort experienced while using the keyboard in the first week.
- The Goldtouch keyboard group also improved in keying technique by five participants. The Study Group believed that this result was achieved by both ergonomic education and the design of the keyboard that promotes bilateral
shoulder retraction with keying tasks.