This is a copy of my post on ARS technica http://arstechnica.com/ commenting on their review of ergonomic keyboards ,Ask Ars: Ergonomic Keyboards 101By Casey Johnston | Tell me what you think about my post, ergonomic keyboards or your thoughts about keyboarding.
Casey did an excellent job describing keyboard types and went beyond excellent with her description of key types.
I’ve been working as an ergonomist for twenty plus years. I don’t recommend a keyboard change unless my client has symptoms because changing the keyboard usually requires a learning curve and some clients get anxious if they are devoted to their device. That said, I use a Kinesis Advantage and have done so for many years. I chose it because it improves the posture of my arms and hands while at the keyboard, thus improving neutral posture of my shoulders, arms, and hands while at the keyboard. The Advantage has a standard layout of the alpha keys but moves backspace, control, option and alt keys to the thumbs reducing reach with the little finger and also ulnar deviation of the wrist, which has caused many a sore wrist.
Just a note, the basics of keyboard location means the keyboard should be placed directly in front of you at a height that just meets your finger tips, so you are not raising your shoulders, or pressing down with your shoulders to use the keys. The keyboard would be too high in the former position, too low in the latter.
Its BEST to become a touch typist, i.e. able to command the keyboard without looking at the keys. If you aren’t a touch typist, become one. It will save your neck…..literally. For those who are touch typists invest in a negative slope keyboard tray and slope the keyboard away from you. Your shoulders and neck will be a lot happier.