Not all keyboards are made equally. Some may not be an exact match for the current task that you are doing. If your current keyboard is causing significant pain or fatigue, you might be wondering if switching to an ergonomic keyboard will fix your issues.
Ergonomic keyboards have lots of advantages over regular form factor keyboards. They are optimized to be as comfortable and as efficient as possible and will surely lessen your chances of getting long-term wrist issues. However, due to their unique layout, they will certainly take some time to get used to.
In this article, we will further discuss the different advantages and disadvantages of ergonomic keyboards. We will also tackle some of the issues that can occur if you are not using a keyboard that is optimized for your task. And by the end of this article, you should have a better idea of whether or not an ergonomic keyboard will be right for your needs.
What is an Ergonomic Keyboard
As the name suggests, an ergonomic keyboard is designed to promote productivity and reduce fatigue when working. In addition, it usually has a design that helps in correctly positioning your hands when typing to prevent wrist straining that in turn prevent all the accompanied potential illnesses like carpal tunnel syndrome and shoulder pain. There are three types of ergonomic keyboards, based on their design:
Contoured Keyboard: These are shaped like domes or waves and help in naturally positioning your arms when typing.
Split Keyboard: As the name suggests comes split in half. This helps with comfort, easy flow in typing, and proper hand spacing when typing.
Angled Keyboard: As the word suggests, angled keyboards are slightly inclined to promote proper wrist and hand placement when typing.
When to Use an Ergonomic Keyboard
Using an ergonomic keyboard is not for everyone since it requires you to have some typing skills to benefit from its design fully. For example, you should be really comfortable in touch typing.
Otherwise, you can’t really use an ergonomic keyboard, or at least you cant get all the benefits out of it. However, assuming you are a great typist who needs to improve the workflow and maintain a healthy body, here are 4 situations where you need to have an ergonomic keyboard.
Reducing the Potential of Repetitive-Stress Injuries (RSI)
The primary advantage of an ergonomic keyboard is that it allows the user to maintain a more natural hand and arm position than those demanded by a traditional keyboard, therefore reducing the potential of repetitive stress injuries.
Repetitive motion injuries are temporary or permanent injuries to muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons caused by performing the same motion over and over again. A common repetitive motion injury is carpal tunnel syndrome.
This disorder occurs when the median nerve, which travels from the forearm to the hand through a “tunnel” in the wrist, is compressed by swollen, inflamed ligaments and tendons. So if your job requires a lot of typing for long hours, then using an ergonomic keyboard will help reduce that risk of having such injuries.
Reduce Workplace Stress
Workplace stress could cost you, the employee of the employers themselves, a lot of money. According to the latest studies, workplace street would lower the employees’ productivity but lose work hours to stress.
If you’re an employer, workplace stress is costing you money. If you’re an employee, it could be interfering with your ability to get a raise or promotion, so it costs you money too.
What does this have to do with the ergonomic keyboard, you ask? The American Institute of Stress reviewed several studies and found 12 percent of workers complained of hurting hands.
This is because their computer and mouse cause them hand and wrist pain. An ergonomic keyboard takes hand, arm, and wrist strain out of the equation to reduce workplace stress.
Improve Your Typing Speed
If you are used to typing on a regular keyboard, you will find that it takes away from your typing speed the first couple of times you use it. However, the more you type with it, the better you get.
Ergonomic keyboards are comfortably meant for touch-typing with their layout. If you look at the keyboard while typing, obviously, your speed will decrease. But taking advantage of the carefully spaced keys and the angle in which they are placed, by the time you will find yourself typing faster. Also, it’s helpful how it’s easier to use keyboard shortcuts with the way it is designed.
Ease of Reach
Ok, so you probably have never found yourself complaining before about how far certain keys are from others on the board. But the fact of the matter is that, even though we are talking about a pretty limited amount of real estate, some keys are harder to reach than others.
Using an ergonomic keyboard, you will find that everything is in reach since its design reduces the amount of hand movement to a minimum. Also, a great benefit of such design, as previously mentioned, is the thought that went into the design and layout of the keys in a way that allows you to use keyboard shortcuts more easily.
You will not find yourself reaching far to use a 2 or 3 key shortcut combination. The result is a more comfortable typing experience overall.
The KBE team is dedicated to sharing our knowledge and creating useful resources about computer keyboards. This article was written as a team collaboration, combining our knowledge and years of experience using, building and modding keyboards. Meet the team here.