Keying into Comfort - Keyboard Ergonomics for the Informed Buyer


Ergonomic keyboard with split design for comfortable typing

Whether you’re a slow hunt and peck typist or faster than a gazelle touch typist, a high-quality keyboard is a worthy investment. A long day at the computer can feel even longer when you’re uncomfortable. Not to mention, poor quality equipment can lead to repetitive strain injuries. 

Most workers today would say they’re time-poor. They have more tasks on their to-do list than time available. Keyboard shortcuts have become popular, with more people wanting to cut down the time it takes to do a task and with the fewest keystrokes to save their fingers and wrists. 

The Importance of Keyboard Ergonomics

Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) are caused by the constant use of a body part. The most commonly affected body parts include the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand. Typing is one of the leading causes of RSI in desk-based workers. And it’s no wonder when you consider how many keystrokes the average office worker does every year. 

Best Keyboards for Office

One of the best ways of reducing the risk of RSI is to use an ergonomically designed keyboard. There is no set design; ergonomic keyboards come in all shapes and sizes, designed to improve comfort and reduce pain in the hands and wrists. Without being one size fits all, it’s up to the individual to find the keyboard that best suits their scenario.   

Ergonomic Features of a Keyboard 

The most distinctive features of ergonomic keyboards are the split keyframe and curve. In a split keyboard, the keys are grouped into two sections; some allow the sections to be adjusted, while others have fixed positions. Split keyboards enable the user to keep a more neutral wrist position, which can help reduce pain and the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. The split keyboards that come with two separate pieces can be placed on the desk in the most comfortable position, so hands, arms, and shoulders are at a more natural angle.

A curved or sloped keyboard creates a natural typing position and promotes greater comfort, given our fingers aren’t all the same length. Some keyboards can tilt on horizontal and vertical planes to a height that best suits the user.

Keyboard Shortcuts and Efficiency

Saving a second or two on a task might not sound like much. But when those seconds multiply by a task that’s completed tens or even hundreds of times per day, the time savings can be huge. It’s the equivalent of extra work days in a year simply by freeing up tiny increments throughout the day. 

A shortcut can save millions of keystrokes, which can be the difference between an RSI or no RSI. The fewer movements the hands and wrists have to make, the easier the job is on your body. Using the keyboard’s hotkeys for the most used functions significantly saves keystrokes and mouse clicks.

Compact Keyboards: Less Space, More Functionality

The average keyboard is shrinking in size. Decades ago, keyboards were big and heavy. Their high profile meant the wrist bent at an uncomfortable angle. Unnecessary and high-profile keys made keyboards much wider than needed. Users’ elbows sat well away from the body because their hands were so far apart. 

Today’s portable workforce demands light and compact keyboards for ease of transport. Smaller keyboards are also ideal for people with smaller hands, so the wrist and fingers don’t need to reach as far.  

When designers were looking to reduce the width of keyboards, the numbers on the right-hand side were the first to go, and for most users, this wasn't a problem because number keys were available at the top for the odd number that needed entering. Until today, a major benefit is that the mouse can be placed closer to the keyboard for greater comfort and speed. And if you're someone who needs a number pad for data entry, opt for a separate numeric keypad or number pad. The benefit of a separate pad is that it can be added or removed when required, leaving a compact keyboard. Many workers like the aesthetics of a small and wireless keyboard for clear desk space.

Key Considerations When Purchasing

There are a few points to consider when purchasing an ergonomic keyboard. Some keyboards can be large and hardly low profile enough to slip inside a laptop bag at the end of each day. Think about keyboard size if it needs to be portable. 
If you’re used to shortcuts with your existing keyboard, make sure the new one has hotkeys, or you’ll be frustrated having to go back to the long way of doing simple functions. 

Some people like to use a soft touch when they type, while others prefer to use more force. For people with pain or at risk of a hand injury, a low activation force means they don’t need as much effort to type. 

Think about whether you prefer a corded or wireless keyboard. If you’re moving to a split keyboard, be willing to slow down while you get used to the new way of typing. If you don’t have the patience to give yourself a few weeks to become familiar with the new keyboard design, you may need to stay with the standard keyboard design for now. 

The profile and ability to change the keyboard's angle allow finding the most comfortable position for your wrists. 

The Health Investment

Ergonomic keyboards cost more than the standard discount store keyboard. But most users can easily justify spending a little extra on an ergonomic keyboard when comparing the cost of lost productivity from feeling pain or discomfort. Many RSI patients are recommended to rest the painful joint so they can’t do any computer work. Ongoing therapy is also very expensive compared to the few extra dollars paid for an ergonomic keyboard.   

As the workforce strives for efficiency keyboard shortcuts have become integral to our workday. The right keyboard can transform your typing experience, combining speed with comfort.

Setting Up Your Space

A new keyboard can impact all of the equipment on your workstation. If your hands and wrists are at a different angle, consider if you should raise or lower your chair to keep them in a more neutral position. Check if the monitor is at a good distance from the keyboard. Look at the other items on your desk, including your mouse and phone and consider if those should be moved closer so they’re in ease of reach.

What's on the Market? Ergolink’s Got Your Back! 

Check out our wide range of ergonomic keyboards to find one that suits you. 

Goldtouch Go!2 Mobile Keyboard 
A keyboard that can be split into two with full-sized keys that are silent, fast and responsive. Slim and lightweight means it’s portable too. 

Kinesis Freestyle 2
A keyboard that's split into two sections connected by a flexible pivot together, so you can decide on the splay of up to 9 inches. Hotkeys for commonly used mouse actions. Suitable for Linux and Windows operating systems.

Ergoapt Ergonomic Compact Keyboard
A sturdy aluminium case with a solid footing and the full tactile experience of scissor action keys. Designed for those wanting a low activation force. The compact keyboard features full-size alphanumeric keys and keys with dual functions.

Ultrabond 950 Corded Keyboard
An ultra-thin compact and portable keyboard with the perfect key weight. Not too heavy or light as you type with a scissor mechanism for fine tactile feedback. 

Ergonomic keyboards are available to try at our Perth showroom, and if you have any queries, contact Ergolink at (08) 9240 7066 or contact us online.