Although great strides have been made in creating intuitive and user-friendly computer interfaces, one fact remains: When it comes to the physical interaction between man and digital device, it’s the human body that must do most of the adjusting. Nowhere is this more evident than in the traditional keyboard posture that millions must adopt every day in the workplace. The study of office ergonomics shows conclusively that efforts to improve the way humans interact with computers pays off in productivity gains and worker satisfaction. Technology furniture equipped with accessories like articulating keyboard trays is just one example of how to make the interface more human compatible.
Here’s a brief guide to keyboard ergonomics for optimum comfort and productivity:
- The keyboard tray should not position the user too far from other work items such as telephones, calculators or reference material. Height and angle should be adjustable with knobs that are readily accessible without stooping or straining.
- Center your body at the keyboard, then determine which area of the keyboard — letters or numeric entry — you use most often. Reposition the keyboard so that section is centered between your hands.
- Release the height adjustment lock and move the keyboard vertically until your shoulders are comfortable and the angle of your elbows is about 100 degrees with both palms resting flat on the keyboard.
- Adjust tilt to accommodate your normal sitting position. Users who draw close to the keyboard to type may benefit from a slight tilt away while those who sit back may be more comfortable with the keyboard tray tilted toward them.
- Palm rests incorporated into keyboards should be no higher than the space key and reserved for supporting the palms during breaks. Typing with palms on the palm rest stresses the wrist carpal area.
- Keep the mouse close to the keyboard. If space does not permit adequate pointing motion, consider a mouse bridge that positions the mouse above the center of the keyboard, minimizing arm extensions.
Nova Solutions has engineered ergonomics into its line of office and technology furniture since 1988. Ask us about more creative solutions for keyboard ergonomics.