Keyboards after all, are peripherals partially modeled after those good old typewriters – yes, what a surprise! As time goes on more and more of them try on designs that distance their images from those of their “predecessors” – they have become more slick, more futuristic, more minimalistic than ever to bait Apple fans into buying (I kid, I kid).
To counter that, some companies decided that they should produce products for the customers who turned the other cheeks, because they seemed so pitiful not owning the latest trendy things on the electronics market and not to mention the potential for marketing was quite large. So how does one counter the trend of smartphone-like keyboards? You go retro the hell out of it. Came Datamancer with their fantastic steampunk custom designs.
You’ve all heard about ergonomic chairs, ergonomic keyboards, ergonomic mice, ergonomic peripherals – the word ergonomic itself has become somewhat a gimmick, to imply that certain tools, or to be more precise, certain office tools (which is where most of the ergonomic-[insert product] market focuses on these days) are to be placed on a whole separate category compared to their counterparts. However that isn’t always the case. Ergonomics is actually everywhere in our day-to-day life, most of us have just accepted that norm and hidden the word itself. In this article I will explain the misconceptions about ergonomics as well as the history behind it.
In my previous article I’ve mentioned plenty about it, but in the off chance that my article has not gone viral and reached your eyes, I will re-introduce the definition again.
Ergonomics comes from two Greek words ERGOS (work) and NOMOS (natural law). Loosely translated, it means the rules of work. Essentially, it is the science of integrating efficiency, comfort and safety to create a better workspace – designing the job to fit the worker, rather than forcing the worker to fit the job, which would ruin work efficiency as well as risk overspending for training and insurance covers. It emphasis the physical relationship between people and tools, ensure the proper use of computer and alleviate injuries – however that’s not the end all be all as most people like to think. Ergonomic principles can be applied to any task that puts your body to work, from doing your household chores to the daily routines of your job, and parts in relation to computers are just extensions.
When one thinks of ergonomic products, the average person doesn’t think of actual ergonomic products and what benefits they provide – they look at the grotesque, curious, uncomfortable looking tools that should not and need not be designed to appear the way they do. It’s similar to placebo effect, you let expectations place strong holds upon your experience of a certain something and get disappointed afterwards. And sure, it’s not easy to distinguish good and bad ergonomic products or the stylistic ones from each other, as overpopulated a market as this. However, you can still selectively point out the tops, bottoms and unique ones of the bunch, as in most categories.
First of all, one needs to know what ergonomics is and what exactly an ergonomic contains. Unless you’ve been living under a rock and not read my hard-worked pointless discourses, you’d not realize that I’ve never once defined the term Ergonomics in all of it’s glory.
Let’s start with deciphering the word by breaking it down. Many English words are combinations of 2 or 3 or more, and this is not a rarity. The word ergonomics comes from two Greek words: Ergo stands for work and Nomos stands for laws. The two combining into the literal meaning of work laws. This is not necessarily work laws as in corporate laws or office rules, not exactly. The “laws” here is used loosely, to be used also in phrases like “nature’s laws” the same way it will be used here. It refers to how a working environment should look like.
In essence, ergonomics is the process of designing or fitting a workplace to the user’s needs, as it aims to produce and increase efficiency and reduce discomfort of the products and systems put in place so that they fit the people who use them more. In short, it’s a science focused on the study of human fit, and decreased fatigue and discomfort through product design. A product designer who want ergonomics applied into their objects must take into consideration how the products they design fit the people that are using them. No matter the environment, a good product increased comfort, productivity and ease off stress off of it’s users.
Alas, an article about keyboards, the tools that guarantee your hourly journeys’ safety to the Internet, a place of wonders and memes. Also they guarantee that the potentiality of getting fired from your office job is significantly reduced, as long as you type really fast when your boss is looking. However, as all things, excessive usage maketh bad things, and if you use keyboards too much there’s high chance something bad comes from it. I’m talking about how the average keyboards aren’t designed so that you can get comfortable typing on it – in fact, your form while typing most likely is very awkward, and specifically harmful to your wrists. On that note, ergonomic keyboards came to being as a knight in shining armors… depends on the style of the prototype, of course.
Computer keyboards have come a long way, they took the forms of typewriters and change themselves so as to fit with contemporary needs. There are many types of keyboards, with different quirks to them, in contrast to the misconception that all keyboards are alike. Some prefer their keyboard to have easier access to certain keys (personalized or industrial gaming keyboards), some prefer it to be wireless, some want it to have a wide range of multimedia applications, which is a properties many integrated laptop keyboards have etc. Each one of them has their own unique thing, however, there’s one thing most are similar in: they are not specifically designed to give you a better time typing.
To the tens of thousands of subscribers that I gained last month (*cough*) for Think Home Office with my one and only article so far “10 Best Ergonomic Chairs for Neck Pain”, here’s a little something else to refresh the place a bit. And your office, obviously.
From smart pens to exercise pedals, I will give you some brief overall introductions to 9 gadgets, items and tools that I consider to be cool and useful enough to have in your battle against bad Mondays, your boss’ animalistic noises and against having an android-like aching body that longs for tickets out of repetition. Your magic wands.
These gadgets, they are not judged by their looks, or designs - although some of them are pretty unique in those aspects - but rather implementability, how handy and useful they are in fulfilling the needs most of us serial seaters didn’t know we had. In other words, the ergonomics of it all. Some of them you already know about, some you don’t, but let’s dig in nonetheless, because afterall, what’s the point of coming here without having a look?
I’m just kidding. Please don’t troll my site.