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-- The Economics of Ergonomics
-- Category: Tech Bits
-- Posted by: BalefireX
-- Posted on: 2006-05-18
-- Price: ~ $n/a USD
-- Pages: 1 [ 2 ]
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Second only to the monitor in terms of use, the mouse has become an indispensable tool for navigating the graphical environments in which most of us work. Nonetheless, this is an area where a lot of people try to save money by recycling old components. When a friend of mine upgraded recently, they took my advice when it came to buying a new tower and LCD, but decided to save a few dollars by using the same two button ball mouse that came with their 133MHz Compaq. Those of you who are skeptics of the multi-button, tilt wheel, laser-optical-wireless mouse trend, try one for a week, and I promise you'll be a convert. Even if all you do is browse the web, you'll find yourself saving time and having to move your mouse less, especially good for those who are at risk of RSIs. Those who are especially at risk may want to consider trackballs, which require far less arm and wrist motion.

Having a quality keyboard can also make your computing experience more pleasant. Some users prefer the typical QWERTY layout, while others find the split “Ergo” designs more comfortable – use whichever feels better for you. Key feel is another matter of personal preference, but experts agree that the when you type your arms should be bent at approximately 90º and your wrists should be straight. Those of us who use our desks for things other than typing may like the ability to pick up and move a wireless keyboard, and MP3 addicts will appreciate built-in media controls, both of which can save time and effort.

When setting up a computer area, however, you can't stop at just the electronics. A good desk and chair, in addition to correct positioning, can be the difference between comfort and misery. You should buy a chair where you can sit all the way back with your feet flat on the floor and 2-3” between the back of your knees and the front of the chair. The back of the chair should support you from your pelvis to your shoulderblades, and if there are arm rests, they should comfortably hold your arms parallel to the ground. Your desk should be set up so that the keyboard is 1-2” above your legs, and the top of your monitor is at eye level, arms length from you.

So what did I do to solve my problem? Keeping these things in mind, I headed to a local office supply store. It is very important to try before you buy, since personal preference is a big part of ergonomics, and despite having a small budget, I managed to make some serious enhancements. Moving to a cheap LCD, a wireless keyboard and optical mouse, and a high backed manager's chair cost only a few hundred dollars but the improvements were greater than I could have gained by spending much more on upgrading my entire tower.




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