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Featured: compact keyboard

Research by Microsoft shows that an active computer user covers 32 km with their fingers daily making the keyboard an important part of the computer. This means that choosing the right keyboard is vital.

Neutral posture
A compact keyboard ensures that the user adopts a good ergonomic posture. As the keyboard is narrower than a standard equivalent the distance to the mouse is reduced. This enables the adoption of a neutral posture which increases comfort and reduces the risk of injury.

What other features does a compact keyboard have?
It is not just size where the standard and compact keyboards differ, the layout has also been optimised. The numerical pad has been removed from the compact version as statistically only 10% of the working population use it regularly enough for it be essential. In addition the arrow keys have been moved for easier use and combined with the editing keys. One thing that shouldn't change is the size and distance between the letter keys so that typing remains comfortable.

The following image clearly shows the differences between a standard keyboard and a compact keyboard:
1. The numerical part
2. The cursor
3. The editing part

Full-size keyboard

Compact keyboard

What to look for
Laptop users are increasingly using compact keyboards. However, the Ultraboard 940 is certainly suitable for desktop users too. A keyboard should be used independently to the monitor. In fact occupational health guidelines stipulate that monitor and keyboard should not be attached together. This makes an external compact keyboard essential for laptop users. It is easily portable in a bag or suitcase for travelling meaning the laptop loses non of its portability and that a good ergonomic set-up can be achieved wherever you someone works. However it is not just size that counts, to prevent you from having to lift your arm continuously, a keyboard should measure no more than 1.4 inches, and preferably less than 1.2 inches at its centre, along the A S D F row. A tilt angle of 0-12 degrees is best to prevent straining the wrists. Also pay attention to the keyboard colour, darker letters on a light background are easier on the eye and contribute to productivity. To prevent reflection, it is important that the keys have a matte finish.

ISO standard
The ISO standard advises a neutral posture when using a keyboard and mouse. This is not achievable with a normal keyboard according to the ISO organisation.

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