Designed well, computers are tools that enable us to succeed with ease. However, sometimes the devices we use to interact with our computers cause pain in our joints and lead to injury or other ailments.

Natural Keyboarding

A number of vendors over the years have offered “natural” and “ergonomic” keyboard designs. Most offer some kind of split keyboard layout that enables each hand to approach the keys at a more comfortable angle.

However, a number of these makers fail to get the third dimension right and add feet to raise the back of the keyboard. The proper angle raises the wrists and enables the fingers to drop down.

The best (and most expensive) of these keyboards is the product line from Kinesis. Its Advantage2 keyboard, in particular, offers proper key depth for fingers willing to get used to this unconventional but natural design for a more pain-free typing experience.

Keyboard Layout

Most U.S. keyboards are designed with the conventional QWERTY layout, which was originally designed to reduce typewriter jams via less efficient typing. Various alternative layouts, such as Dvorak, purport to increase efficiency by decreasing finger motion to common letters and may even reduce the risk of repetitive stress injury.

Some keyboard makers like Kinesis offer the Dvorak layout as an alternative. Some keyboards’ key caps are easily removed and rearranged to suit your desires.

However, Mac users can easily choose any layout digitally without making any changes to their physical keyboard. Visit the Input Sources section of the Keyboard pane of System Preferences to choose from a wide variety of Latin layouts as well as those of other languages.

Accessibility Preferences

Apple is a leader in offering a range of choices for how we with differing abilities interact with our devices. Visit the Accessibility pane of System Preferences to explore the possibilities.

In particular, take a look at the Keyboard and Mouse & Trackpad sections at the bottom. Following are three easy ways to reduce finger strain.

Shortcut Assistance

If you love keyboard shortcuts but have difficulty holding a modifier before pressing the second key, turn on Sticky Keys in System Preferences > Accessibility > Keyboard > Hardware. There are also additional options for the feedback you receive when using this feature.

Click Ease

If clicking a mouse or trackpad is challenging, use a trackpad and enable Tap to Click in System Preferences > Trackpad > Point & Click.

Drag Raise

Instead of having to hold the trackpad button while dragging, go to System Preferences > Accessibility > Mouse & Trackpad > Trackpad Options > Enable Dragging and choose three finger drag.

Then, no need to lower your finger more than it wants to go. Just place three fingers on the surface to drag whatever is under the cursor.

Bonus Touching

Want more touch controls on your MacBook, Magic Mouse, or Magic Trackpad? Check out Jitouch! This little app offers dozens of gestures to make the obsessed mousing efficiency geek even happier.

Setup is a little complicated in the latest versions of macOS, so touch base with me for specific instructions if you want to try Jitouch.

Looking for more insight on how to maximize your productivity while minimizing strain? Give me a call so we can explore your accessibility needs.