Repetitive stress injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome from typing and keyboard use have made people wonder if there's an alternative to standard keyboards. Every profession has equipment and tools of the trade, and typing and data entry jobs do as well. The typical keyboards are not necessarily the best ones to use, and those who type often or work from home in writing or data entry positions should invest in proper equipment for the task.
Finding a keyboard with a V-shape design is a good start. They're commonly called ergonomic keyboards, and they allow you to place your hands in a more natural position for typing so that the wrist isn't skewed towards the "pinkie" fingers.
Split keyboards go one step further. They come in three types: Fixed, adjustable, and contoured. Fixed-split keyboards are literally split apart, coming in two or three pieces, and the individual can set each section of keyboard in the position that's best for him or her, maintaining that natural, straight position from elbow to fingertips. Adjustable-split keyboards can also be adjusted to be on an angle, tilting the vertical center raise. Contoured keyboards take the prize for being typist-friendly, as they're not only split and angle-adjustable, but the position of the keys themselves is laid out in curves for ideal finger placement.
Vertical keyboards are split as well, and are set upright, so that the typist's hands are in a position resembling a handshake. Dvorak keyboards are simpler, with different alphabetic arrangements than the standard QWERTY keyboard that does a better job at evenly distributing typing among all fingers. Many people have made the switch for ergonomic reasons and have found the changeover and learning process easier than they thought.
Chording keyboards close off the parade of alternative keyboards for typists, these type using combinations of keys that represent letters, numbers, and words. Think of pressing chords on a piano to obtain a sound, and you've got the basic principle of a chording keyboard. The user can position the keypads as they want, and there's less finger movement involved, however, these keyboards require training and they sometimes slow down typists with a high average typing speed.
To see whether your keyboard is assisting you in achieving high words per minute, take our typing test.