Keyboards and the workplace.
Some computer keyboards have been designed to increase comfort, particularly for those people who use a keyboard in an office envrioment on a day-to-day basis.
Prolonged use of a computer keyboard can result in RSI and Work-related upper limb disorder (WRULD). Ergonomic keyboards are shaped in a way that makes typing more natural, and may help to reduce the risk of getting RSI from using your computer for lengthy time periods.
There are many different types of 'ergonomic' keyboards that reduce the risk of suffering an RSI and Work-related upper limb disorder and make it easier to type and interact with a computer.
Some are split in half to make it easier to reach the keys, others place the keys on shaped panels so fingers can touch them more readily, and others simply rearrange the letters. In some cases it is possible to install a soft bar between the user and the keyboard to ensure the wrist stays straight while typing. It is even possible to buy software that reminds you to take regular breaks and gives on-screen examples of the exercises you can do to stretch and protect against WRULD.
Assist-I.T. recommend that a needs assessment be carried out before purchasing an alternative or ergonomic keyboard. In some cases, alternative keyboards if used incorrectly can increase pain and worsen an indvidual's condition. For more information about our workplace assessment services click here.
Features in this section:
Ultra-low-profile compact keyboard
Compact or mini keyboards are ideal for those restricted in movement or for those who wish to bring a keyboard closer to hand, perhaps onto a lap tray or wheelchair table.
Traditional or standard keyboards are manufactured with right-handed people in mind, particularly as the number pad is on the right-hand side. This can make it difficult for left-handed or one-handed users. A compact or mini keyboard such as the Cherry G84 can provide increased access for a range of difficulties.
A compact or mini keyboard also allows the user to bring the mouse closer to their side avoiding unecessary stretching or over reaching for the mouse.
External Number/Key Pad
The only difficulty that arises when using a compact or mini keyboard is getting quick access to a number pad, particulary for those who require to work with numerical information or data.
One of the advantages of the Cherry G84 is that it can be connected or 'daisy chained' to an external number pad.
Because the external number pad isn't attached to a keyboard it can be very flexible in the way it is used, for example it doesn't need to stay on top of the desk. It can be positioned in a number of places, for example, in front of you, to the left, right or even held on the lap.
In many ways this is similar to a compact or mini keyboard with the exception that the numeric number pad is situated to the top right hand corner of the keyboard.
A unique feature of the Datalux Space-saver is the angular shape of the keyboard keys which are angled in a downward direction, away from the user - this is in contrast to the standard keyboard.
This can help those who experience RSI, partiuclarly carpal tunnel, by avoiding hypertension in the fingers and hands. The nature and flat shape of the keyboard allows for the hands and wrists to be placed in a more natural and combortable position.
In order dependent on the relationship between the height of the desk, chair and seating position.
The ergonomic Goldtouch Adjustable Keyboard improves the interface between you and your computer by helping you to assume a more natural posture that improves both comfort and productivity.
The Goldtouch has a range of 0° to 30° on both the horizontal and vertical planes, and is continuously variable between these two angles. This means it can be minutely adjusted to allow for individual wrist splay and pronation.
Adjustment of the Goldtouch is easily achieved using a locking ball and socket latch mechanism.
Choose the Goldtouch Keyboard if you touchtype at 40 words per minute or more. If you type at speeds of more than 70 words per minute, the Goldtouch is absolutely essential to prevent undue stress on the fingers and wrists.
The Goldtouch keyboard comes in white and black versions. The white Goldtouch has a PS2 cable, compatible with PCs.
The black Goldtouch comes with a USB cable, compatible with both PCs and iMacs.
Achieve neutral wrist postures.
Goldtouch Wrist Rests give under pressure to relieve strain and helps you achieve neutral wrist postures.
Keeping your wrists in a neutral position will assist in the prevention of conditions such as RSI and Carpal Tunnel syndrome.
Covered in soft lycra, and made of stress-dispersing gel, the Goldtouch Wrist Rests allow you to fit the soft gel pads to each wrist individually - just where you need them.
- Soft lycra surface.
- Gel structure.
- Helps relax hands, wrists and arms.
The standard keyboard is designed for right handed people and doesn't always suit those who are left handed. Althought the Cherry G84 Compact keyboard can be used by both right and left handed users, some may find a dedicated left handed keyboard helpful.
For more efficient and strain free working.
Specially designed for left handed people.
The Left Handed Keyboard looks just like a regular right handed keyboard, except the number pad and navigation keys are on the left.
A keyboard alternative?
For some people who experience RSI or an upper limb disorder, voice recognition can sometimes be a useful alternative to a keyboard as a means of inputting information. However, it should be stressed that using voice recognition takes time to learn and is not a suitable solution for all users.
One particular voice recognition program is Dragon Naturally Speaking 8 Professional. With the correct training Dragon Natrually Speaking will input text to create documents, e-mails, write reports and fill out forms, without having to type at all. It fully integrates with Microsoft Office applications including Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint.
Dragon Naturally Speaking 8 is up to 99% accurate and frequently more accurate than typing. Most people speak over 160 words per minute, but type less than 40 words a minute. That means you can create documents and e-mails about three times faster with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 8 Professional.
Assist-I.T. provide training and advice on Dragon Naturally Speaking. For more information get in touch with Assist-I.T.