Are Mini Keyboards Ergonomically-Friendly?

Advanced portability of communication and gaming has brought with it keyboards of various sizes many becoming smaller and smaller. For example, the Blackberry phone has a mini keyboard that allows you to do virtually everything you could do with a laptop. If you’re like most people you may not consider a mini keyboard to be a top ergonomic choice. Perhaps that’s because you’re accustomed to texting on your very small iPhone pad. You may want to re-evaluate your thoughts. 
 
As with any ergonomic keyboard, the main goal of mini ergonomic keyboards is to reduce the amount of stress on the hands and wrists.  OSHA has specific quick tips as shown below.

1. “Keyboard Quick Tips

Put the keyboard directly in front of you.

Your shoulders should be relaxed and your elbows close to your body.
Your wrists should be straight and in-line with your forearms.”
 
Ergonomic designers accomplish the task by ensuring the keyboard design places the hands and wrists in a comfortable position during extended usage. The most comfortable position is that of “neutral”. A neutral position means a position that places the wrist directly inline with your hand without an up or down angle.
 
Using mini keyboards has several ergonomic benefits. For example, on many mini keyboards you will find a touchpad rather than an external mouse. This helps prevent your hand from being constantly on the mouse when you’re not typing. It also prevents shoulder and arm movement that occur going from the keyboard to the mouse, thus an excellent ergonomic benefit. 
 
Wireless mini keyboards do an excellent job of allowing you to place the keyboard in almost any position. This allows you to choose the best position to ensure you are maintaining your wrists and hands in neutral positions and still maintain the viewing screen at proper distance to prevent eyestrain.
 
You’ll find many types of mini keyboards available. Some have traditional setups as in standard size keyboards. Others omit the number pad, or have it placed on the left side with the trackball or touch pad being on the right. The key is to make sure when you make your purchase, that it will serve your needs both technically and ergonomically. 
 
If you’re accustomed to traditional keyboard setups, it may take a bit of adjustment to use a mini keyboard. After the initial phase, you’ll most likely agree with other users that the mini keyboard is  a good ergonomic addition. Many people are finding that using a wireless mini keyboard rather than their laptop’s keyboard provides the relief and functionality they need and want.
 
The smaller size and design not only benefits your body, it also makes it easy to accommodate in any location. Whether you’re traveling, in your office, or in your home, a mini keyboard is easy to use, store, and carry. Once you grow accustomed to using an ergonomic mini keyboard, you’ll never want to go back to traditional style keyboarding.

References:
1. http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/computerworkstations/components_keyboards.html#distance

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