Clare Kumar: Making tablet ergonomics easier to swallow



Practical tips on safely using a keyboard can help keep productivity up and avoid painful injury.

Here are ten things you can do to keep safe:

If you don’t have one already, you are probably considering a tablet for either personal or professional use. They are fantastic tools for reading content, making quick updates and accessing a plethora of apps.

Tablets are smaller than laptops and unless you have added a separate keyboard, have everything on one surface which requires a different physical interaction from users.  The new iPad mini, for example, is getting rave reviews for its diminutive size allows for easier typing while being held.  Tablets are fairly new and people have been exploring and embracing what’s out there, but as advancements are made to improve usability, you can expect migrations towards more comfortable technology.

If you already have a tablet, and are using it often, here are some things to consider to keep your tablet from becoming a literal pain in the neck.


Using one surface for both viewing and typing means you either experience more than optimal flexion at the neck or at the wrist. Either one will cause strain if you are using your table for long periods.  Adding a keyboard will help keep wrists flat and allow the screen to be angled or even better raised to a copacetic position.


One good feature of tablets is that given their light weight and thinness, they are even more portable than laptops.  Users are less likely to use them in one position. Moving around and changing positions will help avoid long periods of time in one posture.


Research is only beginning on the effects of tablet ergonomics. It is worth paying attention to studies as they begin to examine in more detail the variety of uses and impacts on a wider range of body parts.

In my own experience, tablets complement laptops magnificently.  I suffered whiplash from a car accident a couple of years ago and found it difficult to stay upright in the evenings to work at my laptop. I brought my laptop to bed to use in a reclined position which worked well for some tasks.  It didn’t take long for the laptop to become uncomfortably hot and heavy. Rather, I became fond of saving specific tasks for the iPad, an agreeable tool to use in a reclined position, especially for the consumption of information and quick exchanges common in social media.



When deciding what technology to invest in and use, just as with office furniture, take some time to understand the types of tasks you perform and choose your tools carefully.


  1. Employ a light touch.  Typing with a heavy hand can raise the risk of injury.


  1. Keep wrist elevated and flat, not curved and resting on a mouse pad.  Gel wrist rests can be helpful, but are meant to be used as a resting place when not using the mouse.


  1. Keep the keyboard flat. Take down those lifts at the back of the keyboard. Really! Keyboards don’t need to mimic old typewriters. In fact, some recommend using lifts at the front of keyboards to create a negative inversion for even greater comfort.


  1. Maintain the keyboard at a height which keeps your elbows at 90 degrees. Avoid reaching.


  1. Keep the keyboard centred in front of you to avoid twisting your spine.


  1. Learn how to use a mouse with the left hand. This is especially important if you use a numeric key pad as they are on the right side of the keyboard, and push the mouse too far right. Placing a mouse to the right can induce reaching and injuring.


  1. Ensure there is space beside your keyboard for your mouse.


  1. Consider a split and raised keyboard for increased alignment and therefore, comfort.


  1. Take breaks every 30 minutes.   Looking out the window is a good idea for your eyes need a break too.


  1. Clean your computer regularly as they are a great place for germs to hang out.

By Adam

December 07, 2012