Ergonomic computer keyboard is a well-designed keyboard which helps to reduce health risks that may rise on one’s wrist, forearms and hands as a result of long hour work on a computer. Particularly, typists and secretaries are exposed for this kind of health problem.
Generally, ergonomics is “the science of designing machines, products, and systems to maximize the safety, comfort, and efficiency of the people who use them.” Source: Stair and Reynolds, “Principles of information systems”, eighth edition, 2008, P.606.
Comparing to the standard keyboard, an ergonomic computer keyboard design is slightly different in key arrangement, size and shape. This type of keyboard has a V shape layout which matches with the angle of our wrists and provide convenient hand postures. Other than the V shape layout, it also has a palm rest which helps to position your hands comfortably when you type.
Commonly, there are more than two types of ergonomic keyboards. However, the most common types are split and vertical type keyboards. The split keyboard, called Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, was first introduced by Microsoft. This type of keyboard comes with improved ergonomic features.
In split keyboard type the keys are separated into two or more groups. Means both the left and the right side keys are arranged so that it can match with our natural wrist angle. In other words, rather than typing straight like we do on standard keyboard, each hands type at different angle. This way you will reduce the pain that comes from unnecessary movement and wrong wrist angle.
There are two types of Split keyboards: fixed and adjustable. The fixed type is arranged left and right in a V shape layout, but the angle and the position of the keys are not adjustable. But, in the adjustable keyboard type, the angle between the keys can be adjusted based on user preference.
Even though we don’t have clear proof of benefit in using Ergonomic keyboard, you can prove it for yourself. Specially, if you experienced pains or feel uncomfortable when using standard keyboard, you may try ergonomic keyboard. The problem with this type of keyboard is that it may take time to get used to it and type quickly and accurately. In addition, it is a little expensive comparing to the standard keyboard type. Even though, it doesn’t concern much, ergonomic keyboard occupies your table space because of its size.
In summary, changing your standard keyboard with Ergonomic computer keyboard is not necessarily essential. As Ergonomic keyboard designers claim that these types of keyboards are comfortable for hands and reduce wrist strain when typing. It may surely does, but it is up to you to try and prove it.