Every computer activity needs a different style of keyboard. Small laptops generally have a minimal setup with the basic QWERTY arrangement and very few command keys. That’s because the keys each need to have a certain size to be easy to hit, but the keyboard itself is constricted by the size of the device. While this is great for general use and online browsing, it’s no good for accounting work. It doesn’t have a ten-key number pad or a multiple of command keys that make shortcuts and formulas easier to input.
Those same kinds of constraints can make a keyboard a bad fit for the office. Almost everyone needs to input numbers, and a number pad makes that faster and more accurate. But that’s not the only factor that could be slowing down work or making the keyboard a bad fit. Here are five things you should check your keyboard for:
Are the keys designed for touch-typing?
Ergonomics is usually the primary concern when it comes to keyboards. That’s because repetitive stress injuries, muscle strain, and arthritis are real concerns when it comes to typing in the office eight hours a day. But selecting ergonomic keyboards isn’t enough. Make sure it’s right for fast, accurate work, too:
1. Is it back-lit?
Back-lit keyboards are getting more and more popular, but they’re mostly associated with gaming. While that’s where the feature started out, the idea is also useful for everyday usage. The light provides extra illumination when the office lighting is not sufficient.
High overhead lights are already identified as causing eye strain and general discomfort at work. Layers of closer lights, such as task and ambient lighting, help reduce the problem. Backlighting keeps users from squinting or hitting the wrong keys.
Over time, backlighting also provides feedback that helps with accuracy. Experienced users report that unexpected fluctuations in the lighting catch their attention in the periphery of their vision. If they accidentally hit the wrong key, it’s more noticeable, and that helps accuracy.
2. Is there a tactile response to pushing the keys?
Touchscreen keyboards are notoriously unreliable. The lack of feedback makes it hard to know when a device has a lag and skips over the pressed keys. Even worse, it won’t always register when a user has hit the wrong (or multiple) keys, and that’s bad for quick accuracy.
But a mechanical keyboard offers tactile feedback. You can feel each key press down and hear the single click of each key. That feedback means typists have to spend less time looking down at their keyboard and can instead stay focused on the screen.
3. Are all the keys where they should be?
In the quest to make keyboards fit unique screen sizes with the all of the keyboard features that users are likely to need, designers have to make a few interesting choices. Removing the number keypad is a simple change. But some screen sizes mean designers have to change the shape of the enter key, move the shift key to the other side of the arrow keys, or get rid of function keys.
But these small changes can feel impossible to adapt to, especially if your coworkers are using other configurations at home. That leads to slowdowns and mistakes that might not get caught.
Even more importantly, everyone at the company may need a slightly different keyboard. If you have people who do all of their work on the keyboard, make sure they have the tools and the wide selection to get it done. Go to IT Networks Australia Pty Ltd to find the right keyboards and electronic tools for your office.