IT Technician’s / Developer’s Guide to Ergonomics, Mice / Input Devices

Every Bit Counts

As I outlined in the first part of this article, every small improvement adds up when it comes to ergonomics. No one improvement is going to make your environment perfect. At this point your hands are probably already damaged so even the smallest repeated agitation can cause problems.

Dual Wielding! Touchpad and Mouse

Dual Wielding! Touchpad and Mouse

 Mice, Touchpads, Tablets, etc.

Find what works for you

More so than with any other category, finding a mousing setup that worked for me was not easy to do. It is with input devices that there seems to be the most diversity in opinions. What’s very comfortable for one person, is actually very uncomfortable for another.

Most common Solutions

Generally, the most common types of ergonomic mousing solutions fit into three categories:

Ergonomic Mice

Touchpads

Graphic Tablets

All of these present their own risks for RSI, regardless of what you’re suffering from now. It’s not uncommon for someone to switch to a new setup, just to find themselves suffering from a new kind of pain six months later. The only consensus that I can seem to find from everyone I talk to is, you’re going to need a few different pointing devices.

Have a few different pointing devices for different tasks

By having a few different kinds of mice, you prevent your body hands from overusing and fatiguing as quickly. Furthermore, different kinds of mice seem to be better for different kinds of work. A graphic tablet you use for work, probably won’t game well, and vice-versa. Spend a little more for wireless mice, and keep them all around so you can quickly jump between them.

What worked for me

I arrived a strange solution to my problem. I find that the Evoluent Vertical Mouse is very comfortable in general. However, it didn’t solve one of my main RSI problems. From years of clicking with my index finger, my index finger is very sensitive to the motion of clicking. Realistically, any clicking with my index finger for any extended period of time causes pain. To alleviate this, I bought a Logitech Wireless T650 Touchpad, figuring it would help alleviate the issue. Well, it turns out, as I properly recalled, I hate Touchpads. Doing anything with them other than two finger scrolling drives me nuts… then by accident I figured out a unique solution to my problem. As you can see in the photo above, I actually use the Touchpad over the left of my keyboard for clicking, and scrolling. I use the mouse for pointing. The combination is actually surprisingly very intuitive. Copying and Pasting is frustrating, this way, so I use the Evoluent for the selecting part. But outside of that, I rarely have a need to use the left click on the mouse itself.  When I’m browsing the internet, and mostly just scrolling through pages, I hold the Touchpad between my hands and scroll with both thumbs.

Scrolling with the Logitech T650 Trackpad, other hand is taking the photo

Scrolling with the Logitech T650 Trackpad, other hand is taking the photo

I’m not recommending this setup to everyone. But for me, it definitely does the trick. Alone, neither of them really alleviated the whole issue, but together I can distribute the load onto two hands, and make working a whole lot less painful.