Checklist for Data Input Devices Ergonomics

Use the checklist below to see if the new keyboard or mouse you are going to buy (or invent) would really meet your expectations for ergonomic data input.

1. Does the input device (mouse/ keyboard) offer a variety of (natural) movements so as to avoid repetitive strain?

Typing on a keyboard enagages your hands in more varying types of movements than mousing for instance. Just think how much time you keep your hand tense over the mouse in the same position, in readiness for moving the cursor.

2. Does the input device (mouse/ keyboard) take into account different hand sizes?

We produce shoes of different sizes for the different sizes of feet people have, naturally. Not so naturally we use keyboards and mice of the same "average" size, as if we do not have hands of various sizes and is if this average standard size is "average enough" to be truly ergonomic to everybody.

3. Does the input device (mouse/ keyboard) require unnatural position of limbs when only holding it, in readiness for using it?

Holding a mouse, for instance, is an utmost unnatural position of the hand and body - first, you arm is streched for the whole time of mousing; second it is in assymetrical position ot the left hand; third, the natural position of hands are to be in front of the body, slightly to the body centre, not stretched outside the centre; fourth, the wrist points upward, instead of its natural water level position; fifth, the grip is flat on the surface instead of being angled and sixth - the palm is open, while it is natural fingers and thumb to be together in a grip. The latter cause the hand to go cold which apart from the sheer discomfort makes the delicate muscle and tendons around the wrist less flexible and more suscpetible to injury.

4. Does the input device (mouse/ keyboard) require unnatural movements of limbs when using it?

Same arguments as above but related to moving rather than the stiff position of holding the devices.

5. Does the input device (mouse/ keyboard) require too much force to use?

Pressing a mouse button for example asks for significantly more effort than pressing a key on a keyboard. Keyboards come with different resistance of keys, as well.

6. Does the input device (mouse/ keyboard) offer equally distributed workload for both hands?

A mouse rates best in giving the worst experience again. It burdens heavily the right hand with all sorts of strain - moving around, clicking, scrolling, moving arm between keyboard and mouse, while also using the same hand for typing…

7. Does the input device (mouse/ keyboard) cause visual strain?

Touch typing seems to be the best solution for sparing the effor of your eyes to accomodate between the screen and the keyboard. But even for touch typists nuisances could arise such as the irritating glared of LED lights on the keyboard.

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