Ergonomic keyboards are a must for students and professionals, or anyone who spends a lot of hours touch typing.
An ergonomically designed keyboard takes into account natural hand and finger position to optimize comfort and reduce health issues related to repetitive keyboarding to a minimum. That’s why every keyboarding school or class should offer ergonomic keyboards: so that students can improve their touch typing skills without putting their wrists and fingers at risk.
Split keyboards and the more recent adjustable split keyboards can be split apart in the middle so that each hand rests more naturally on its natural curves.
The split keyboard lets you do two things. First, you can adjust the distance between the two halved keyboards and adjust the key angle from flat to up to 30 degrees. This position is far more comfortable for your wrists which are naturally facing each other.
This 15 to 30 degree “tent” your split keyboard assumes means your wrists and arms can be in a natural line, minimizing the uncomfortable experience associated with most flat and integrated keyboards in laptops.
This is what’s called keyboard tenting and it’s about finding the sweet spot for your wrists. As a result, your touch typing will be faster and with less typos and your wrists will be at maximum comfort. For many people split keyboards also translate into many hours of pain-free touch typing. Some split keyboards with adjustable design allow anywhere from 9 to 20 inches distance between the two halves, too.
While there are several fixed split keyboards, we recommend adjustable ones with independent pieces since these allow you to get used to the new hand position incrementally.
Kinesis Advantage Keyboard
The science behind this type of ergonomic keyboard is that their design is based on the body’s anatomy. They aim to make touch typing as comfortable as possible by offering a layout that feels more natural to your arms and wrists as possible.
They’re called “contoured” because they’re take up the shape delineated by the anatomy of your fingers and wrists.
How to spot a good ergonomic keyboard
There are several features that will help you decide if a keyboard is ergonomic, and more importantly if it’s suitable for your needs.
1) Well-designed wrist pad with sturdy yet soft support for your palms that can be adjusted further for optimum comfort.
2) Tactile and silent keys are another feature. These keyboards require very little keystroke power alleviating most of the stress associated with touch typing on cumbersome previous-generation keyboards.
3) Price matters. Ergonomic keyboards, especially state-of-the-art ones that look like they’ve jumped out of a sci-fi movie, tend to be on the pricey side. However, keep in mind they contribute to your personal comfort and health.
With every ergonomic keyboard there’s usually a learning curve to go through, so keep this in mind when introducing a new ergonomic keyboard to your class or school. It will take some time before students feel comfortable with the new layout. With consistent practice, students will be able to resume their touch typing efficiency in a matter of days.