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Staggered/Columnar/Ortholinear analysis?

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ergo_typing:
Does anyone know of any research/analysis into the relative merits of Staggered/Columnar/Ortholinear layouts in relation to reducing keyboard related pain?

Splitting a keyboard layout seems to be an obvious win to reduce ulnar deviation induced pain but I was curious if anyone had run any studies on Staggered/Columnar/Ortholinear pain reduction.

Findecanor:
The TypeMatrix study, and the TRON keyboard paper point to ortho-linear and columnar fan-layout respectively being beneficial for 1) minimising finger extensions, and 2) minimising wrist movements from the home row.
However, they don't really say why either in itself would be a good thing,

I know that some people with movement issues in their hands greatly prefer small columnar keyboards so as to minimise finger movements though.
When it comes to avoiding moving the wrist or the entire hand, there exist also an opposing view out there: that it is good to move your hands around to avoid static tension, which could lead to muscle pain.

Note that the original TypeMatrix and the Tron keyboards both minimise ulnar deviation by separating the left-hand and right-hand keys.
(An ortholinear or columnar keyboard without enough hand-separation/opening angle is worse than a traditional keyboard IMHO. Most people type on a row-staggered keyboard with the keyboard left of centre, the left hand at around 0 angle, and their right at ~20)

ergo_typing:
Thanks for the links!

The "why" you mention really is the thing isn't it! Also, the way Raymond P. Bello set up the TypeMatrix study is very odd. They had 43 participants and they gave all of them a complete ergonomic work station adjustment, had them all do an exercise program and gave them a new keyboard. I surely would hope that the majority of the participants noticed an alteration in their symptoms. I don't think it really in any way proves that the TypeMatrix was responsible for that change though.

The TRON paper is an interesting design study but doesn't attempt to prove that the new design reduces symptoms. The design goals of "gain speed" and "lessen the fatigue" are admirable, but not really proved, more asserted. But as this appears more of a design paper rather than an ergonomic related pain study, fair enough!

The TRON thumb cluster really made me think of the new Dygma one:





You interestingly mention "the left hand at around 0 angle, and their right at ~20" do you have a citation for that, or is it through empirical observation?

You also mention "minimise finger movements": I wonder if this is in relation to arthritic pain in finger joints, rather than RSI in general?

And "good to move your hands around to avoid static tension": I fall into this category for sure, but I come from a classical music background, so I've always felt that typing was some cut down way of playing the piano :)

A couple of papers that I've found talk in more objective measurements about splitting the layout but not staggered vs ortholinear that might be of interest:

Kroemer 1972 https://doi.org/10.1177%2F001872087201400110
Thompson 1990 https://doi.org/10.1177%2F154193129003400428

Findecanor:

--- Quote from: ergo_typing on Fri, 24 June 2022, 06:36:02 ---The TRON thumb cluster really made me think of the new Dygma one:

--- End quote ---
There is a long tradition of columnar keyboards with many thumb-keys, and in an arc, especially in Japan. Those have certainly influenced the DIY ergo keyboard scene and thus Dygma.
http://xahlee.info/kbd/Japan_M-Type_TRON_keyboards.html


--- Quote from: ergo_typing on Fri, 24 June 2022, 06:36:02 ---You interestingly mention "the left hand at around 0 angle, and their right at ~20" do you have a citation for that, or is it through empirical observation?
--- End quote ---
That's only my impression, yes. I think there is also a large proportion of people who hold their left hand at near 45  (columns T-F-C, R,D,X, etc).


--- Quote from: ergo_typing on Fri, 24 June 2022, 06:36:02 ---You also mention "minimise finger movements": I wonder if this is in relation to arthritic pain in finger joints, rather than RSI in general?
--- End quote ---
I'm not sure what the reason, but I've seen it happen to relatively young people.  AFAIK, arthritis is uncommon for people younger than 65 y/o.


--- Quote from: ergo_typing on Fri, 24 June 2022, 06:36:02 ---A couple of papers that I've found talk in more objective measurements about splitting the layout but not staggered vs ortholinear that might be of interest:
--- End quote ---
I've seen the Kramer paper referenced, but not found a free copy.

nevin:
yes, split and hand separation will be the biggest change and improvement.
whether you go with split staggered, split ortho, or split columnar stagger will all just be..... well... "splitting" hairs. (ha, ha)

i don't have studies to link to but i can speak from my experiences.
- split is definitely the way to go. i've been in front of a computer for the last 26 years for work, got a split ortho in 2018 (i won't go back to one piece boards). the hand separation alone is worth the change.
- i have very little experience with columnar stagger boards. though, i do have an ergodash. i'm not a big fan of the ergodash or others mainly because of the thumb keys that usually come with columnar stagger. while i whole heartedly believe that modifiers (control, alt, shift, etc.) should be towards the center of the board and not mandated to your pinkies. i found the thumb clusters made the stretches for commands/shortcuts harder/further away then how they were on my current board (keeb.io viterbi)
- i do more shortcuts/commands during the day than actual typing (designer) so my use case may be different than most.
- 14 column can be setup extremely close to standard qwerty (as a transition to alternate layouts, ortho, etc., not speaking to qwerty as far as efficiency of a layout, that's a whole other ball of wax.) with 14 columns you only have to move one or two keys.
- your posture and desk/setup ergonomics have more to do with "keyboard related pain" than staggered, ortho, columnar.

hope this helps, answers some of your questions.

feel free to ask me if you have questions i might be able to answer.

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