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Input devices


Keyboards and Mice


Your keyboard should be just above the level of your lap, which is probably lower than you might expect. It leaves your elbows at a comfortable angle and minimises the pressure on wrists and fingers. Your forearms should be roughly parallel to the floor.

After sorting out the height of your keyboard, examine the tilt of your keyboard. The aim is to keep your wrists in a relaxed position (not bent up or down). Use the legs under most keyboards to tilt the back edge of the keyboard up or down. Use a thick ruler under the front edge to achieve negative keyboard tilt. The angle you adopt depends on the ergonomic curvature of the keys and your distance from the keyboard.

To check your posture let your arms hang naturally then lift them to the keys to check the height is correct. Your shoulders should be relaxed and you should not have to adjust to the height of the keyboard by hunching them. Keyboards are not symmetrical so stay centred on the keyboard by aligning yourself with the "B" key. If you are not a touch typist, the location of the keyboard might be influenced by the need to have the keys at the same distance from your eyes as the screen.

When you are using the mouse, a wrist rest can help to keep your hand level with your arm. Modern keyboard designs have a detachable skirt above which your hands can floatwhile you are typing and to rest on whenever you pause for thought. Repeated bending of your wrists up and down may bring about carpal tunnel syndrome. It is good practice to rest your hands in your lap when you are not typing.

Pointing devices

The standard 2 mouse button can be hard on the hand, arm and wrist if used for prolonged periods. The drawback of the standard mouse is the space it needs to roam. Pushing the mouse about can be tiring. An alternative is the tracker ball which is really an upside down mouse. You rotate the ball rather than pushing the mouse about. The tracker ball takes less desk space and can be operated from any comfortable position

Voice recognition programs

These allow you to talk to your computer. They are best employed in a private location as it can be embarrassing to dictate your story to passers-by and background noise can cause problems. Most programs need to be 'trained' but can be quite effective.