Expert tips in choosing between an ergonomic keyboard vs regular keyboard
Are you wondering about the sleek design of the keyboards available in the market today? Do you wonder why the manufacturers release such an unconventional keyboard that looks odd? Well, there’s nothing odd about the design. It’s called ergonomic.
The ergonomic design simply suggests that tools and equipment must be designed per the natural and right posture of the human body. It helps to decrease the stress that your body may experience during a long period of work.
When compared to the traditional or regular keyboard, many users agree that there is such a big difference between the two types. The main difference is that the regular keyboard increases the chance of the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Instead of focusing on the comparison between the two types, this article will focus on the in-depth features of an ergonomic keyboard.
Ergonomic keyboard vs. mechanical
The emerging debate now is whether an ergonomic keyboard is better than the mechanical keyboard. But did you know that none of these two is better than the other? The choice for a keyboard type depends on the kind of user and the type of job. This article points out the characteristics of each keyboard, their capabilities, and advantages.
A mechanical keyboard consists of actual, physical switches that are located under the keys to determine that a key is pushed by the user. When you press a key, you also press its switch down. When the switch is pressed down, it sends the signal to the computer and that key appears in the screen.
It seems so simple and unremarkable. You push down one key and it appears on the screen. But did you ever wonder how does it work? Most keyboards are made of three plastic membranes with rubber shaped switches under each key.
When you press a key, the rubber switch pushes through the hole in the middle membrane to join the upper and the bottom membranes. This setup builds an electrical circuit that allows the keyboard to send the signal to the computer. This kind of keyboard design is spill-resistant and cheap, but it does not have audible feedback.
Mechanical keyboards are getting popular because of their advantages in different ways. They are great for gaming purposes because two keys can be pressed at any one time. This is known as the “two key rollover”.
Some mechanical keyboards can even allow 20 keys to be pressed at once. Mechanical keyboards increase typing speed and accuracy. They give the typist feedback over the membrane which is noticeable.
Most people who prefer mechanical keyboards have a feeling of nostalgia. Mechanical keyboards are the first of kind keyboards that were invented during the early days.
Ergonomic keyboards are specially designed keyboards with different layouts and the keys are placed in more strategic locations. They are intended to minimize computer-related injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain injury, and more.
These kinds of keyboards are typically for two-handed typists – they have V shape which lets the right and left hand to type at a slightly more natural angle.
There are four types of ergonomic keyboards that provide different ergonomic considerations for different kinds of users. The most common type is the split keyboard which has keys that are separated into two to three groups. The others are the contoured keyboards, handheld keyboards, and angled split keyboards.
There are still other ergonomic keyboards that have fixed and vertically aligned keys; some have capabilities to be rotated and elevated.
The advantages of ergonomic keyboards include minimizing computer-related injuries, improving the quality of work, increasing productivity and engagement among employees, and creating a better and safer working environment. They are usually expensive, but they are worth the money.
Today, ergonomic keyboards are mechanical keyboards too. It means that a keyboard has a special layout with ergonomic considerations, but it is also made of three plastic membranes and mechanical built.
Split keyboards are divided into two categories: the fixed-split keyboard and the adjustable split keyboard. The former is a single board, but the keys are segmented. Depending on the type, it can be divided into groups of two or three. It directs the hands to move to a different angle.
On the other hand, the adjustable split keyboard has two separate pieces. It can be moved away from each other so it can be positioned on the preference of the user. Based on studies, a split keyboard can reduce the tension in the hand.
Contoured keyboards are easy to recognize because of their weird design. The keyboard keys are divided into two and are far from each other. The separation forces the wrists and arms to a position in a straight manner while typing.
It helps to avoid the twisted posture which is apparent on the standard keyboard. The keys formed bowls or wells which is concave in shape. It has a center island where enter, space, and backspace are located. The thumbs struck the keys.
Handheld keyboard a.k.a. portable keyboard has a similar shape as a game controller. It is handy and easy to carry around. There are three types of keyboards: smaller keyboard, folding keyboard, and rollable keyboard.
The smaller keyboard is a shrinked-version of the regular size in a qwerty layout. The car-friendly keyboard is sturdy even when the user is in transit. The folding keyboard is foldable and it functions as a laptop keyboard.
However, the keyboard must be placed on a flat surface. The roller keyboard uses smart matter and flexible transistor technology.
Angled split keyboard
The Angled split keyboard a.k.a Klockenburg keyboard has a similar concept as the split keyboard when it comes to design. However, the angled split keyboard’s middle part is tented up. The design directs the index fingers to be placed on a higher level while the smaller fingers are on the lower level.
True ergonomic keyboard test
Although there are many types of keyboards, the true ergonomic test is essential to maintain the posture and proper form of the hand while you use it. Here are some of the features that must be present in an ergonomic keyboard.
1. Mechanical keys
Keyboards with mechanical keys are preferred because they bounce back easier than rubber keys. Although resistance is present, it doesn’t need much pressure than the traditional keyboard.
2. Separate numeric keys
Ergonomic keyboards have a separate set of numeric keys. It allows a bigger workspace when not in use. Because this part of the keyboard has the NumLock key, it requires users to use the NumLock keys when switching between numbers and directional keys. However, in an ergonomic keyboard, the user can use the numbers and directional keys simultaneously.
3. Wrist rest
Ergonomic keyboards must have a large wrist wrest. Although it doesn’t work as a resting tool for the wrist, it’s essential to maintain the wrist in its neutral position. Avoid buying an ergonomic keyboard with a small size or no wrist rest.
Even though you may buy it separately, it’s not a good idea. There is a tendency that you may forget that you need it.
Which is better? Ergonomic keyboard vs. mechanical
The answer depends on the kind of user you are and the type of job you have. Some people prefer mechanical keyboard because they enjoy typing or use the computer for gaming purposes.
However, mechanical keyboards are not always suited for all kinds of users. The ergonomic keyboards are good for some users because they have layouts that are more convenient for other computer tasks.