Author Topic: Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left  (Read 4004 times)

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Offline pnutster

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Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« on: Wed, 10 December 2014, 22:00:59 »
Was reading in the topic https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=22183.0 about some keyboard layouts, but didn't want to hijack the topic with my noob questions.

Trying to avoid stretching/overusing my left hand due to tendon problems in left lower arm. It looks to me that Dvorak layout might do that, but have zero experience with that.

Was hoping to get some insight on this and hopefully some useful tips on possible layouts. Would anyone be able to share their thoughts on what layouts would focus more on right hand / dominant hand use?
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Offline davkol

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Re: Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 11 December 2014, 04:28:36 »
Do you use a right-handed mouse? A nav cluster or a numpad?

Offline Sc0tTy

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Re: Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 11 December 2014, 05:06:13 »
Changing to Colemak helped me a lot. Also try to use right shift and CTRL as much as you can.
The left pinky gets overloaded like crazy and usually when using shortcuts your hand and fingers take up some weird positions.
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Offline pnutster

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Re: Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 11 December 2014, 09:28:33 »
Changing to Colemak helped me a lot. Also try to use right shift and CTRL as much as you can.
The left pinky gets overloaded like crazy and usually when using shortcuts your hand and fingers take up some weird positions.

Thanks for the input!

Until about a year ago was using all kinds of weird positions for shortcuts, not doing proper touch-typing. Learning touch typing surely made a difference. However, I feel I use left so much more than right when using QWERTY. Doing some reading on the topic and seeing that DVORAK is certainly more right (dominant) hand oriented seems interesting to me. Where Colemak and Workman aim for even distribution if I am not mistaken.

Quote
Do you use a right-handed mouse? A nav cluster or a numpad?

Should have added my setup first of-course, sorry about that. (Will put it in my signature as well)

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Offline hoggy

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Re: Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 13 December 2014, 13:41:30 »
Sounds like you are on the right track. 

Don't forget about rest breaks, and reducing your typing overall will help too.
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Offline pnutster

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Re: Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 13 December 2014, 13:57:13 »
Sounds like you are on the right track. 

Don't forget about rest breaks, and reducing your typing overall will help too.

Absolutely trying breaks in a timely fashion. Making sure to drink enough water during the day (pretty hard when you're a coffee addict) and making sure during those breaks, to just make the blood flow through the body a bit work a bit (sounds weird I know, but what I do is: walk stairs up/down till winded).

Also using a lot of productivity tools to help in minimizing repetitive typing. One tool I can't live without I'd like to share for Mac users:

Alfred App: http://www.alfredapp.com

Now the biggest feat will be, when to start trying Dvorak / Colemak or Workman... Last few weeks of the year are always crazy busy for us, customers "emtpying" their yearly budget and they all want it done before end of year. (I am the jack-of-all-trades / troubleshooter guy in a webdev company).

So most likely early in the new year I will make an attempt to switch off of QWERTY.

Thanks for all the tips!
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Offline jacobolus

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Re: Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 13 December 2014, 17:24:26 »
Whatís your overall posture and typing style like? I suspect those make at least as much difference as changing the symbolic keyboard layout, from an injury-avoidance perspective. (Not that switching layouts canít also help, of course.) Then again, with the Kinesis Advantage it should generally be a bit easier to type without too much wrist strain.
« Last Edit: Sat, 13 December 2014, 17:26:09 by jacobolus »

Offline pnutster

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Re: Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 13 December 2014, 20:26:35 »
Whatís your overall posture and typing style like? I suspect those make at least as much difference as changing the symbolic keyboard layout, from an injury-avoidance perspective. (Not that switching layouts canít also help, of course.) Then again, with the Kinesis Advantage it should generally be a bit easier to type without too much wrist strain.

As mentioned earlier. only about a year that I went from hunt & peck to touch typing. 6 feet 2 tall and certainly not the best posture. Been actively watching posture the past year now that health issues are causing a problem (tendonosis - chronic tendonitis left lower arm).

Using under desk keyboard tray, small negative slope. watching to keep lower arm vs upper ar, at 90ļ or a bit more. Same with legs.

Now the wrist strain, I don't have wrist problems, but I do know that my typing method needs adjustments. Leaning/resting my wrist too much while typing. The Kinesis Advantage with pads sort of invites to that, but don't think it is good with my specific problem. My left lower arm just feels as if it is constantly tense. Even at rest. Even while sleeping. Working on having my wrists hover when typing.

Have had physio-therapy for the problem with decent results. However, the cause of the problem will never go away, as I earn my living with working on a computer 8-10 hours a day.

All the ergonomics in the world are not going to take away the cause of the problem, therefor I am willing to try everything that can minimize it. I think the next step is a keyboard layout with focus on ergonomics and I don't think the QWERTY layout was ever intended to be ergonomic. Read somewhere it was actually to slow down typists.
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Offline jacobolus

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Re: Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 13 December 2014, 20:44:15 »
I don't think the QWERTY layout was ever intended to be ergonomic. Read somewhere it was actually to slow down typists.
Thatís a myth. QWERTY was designed to reduce jamming on mechanical typewriters, so letters that commonly occur near each-other in English were moved to have their typewriter bars be widely separated. The goal was never to slow down typists, and QWERTY is definitely better than a totally random arrangement.

It was invented before ďtouch typingĒ was a thing though, and so itís not really designed with an eye toward reducing finger motion.

Offline pnutster

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Re: Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« Reply #9 on: Sun, 14 December 2014, 10:54:07 »
Quote
Thatís a myth. QWERTY was designed to reduce jamming on mechanical typewriters, so letters that commonly occur near each-other in English were moved to have their typewriter bars be widely separated. The goal was never to slow down typists, and QWERTY is definitely better than a totally random arrangement.

Yeah, my typical ESL phrasing, the reduce jamming and spread out common near each other letters was what I meant with "slow-down".
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Offline jacobolus

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Re: Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« Reply #10 on: Sun, 14 December 2014, 18:44:50 »
Yeah, my typical ESL phrasing, the reduce jamming and spread out common near each other letters was what I meant with "slow-down".
Itís common for people to say that ďQWERTY was designed to reduce typing speed.Ē My point is just that thatís a totally false statement. Slower typing was not any part of the design goal for the QWERTY layout. Slower typing is not a side-effect of QWERTYís layout principles either. If QWERTY is slower than other layouts (which hasnít been conclusively demonstrated ever, but seems plausible to me) then thatís totally incidental to QWERTYís design criteria.
« Last Edit: Sun, 14 December 2014, 18:46:29 by jacobolus »

Offline pnutster

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Re: Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« Reply #11 on: Sun, 14 December 2014, 19:44:26 »
Thanks Jacobolus for the thorough explanations! Very much appreciated.

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Offline naz

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Re: Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 15 December 2014, 06:33:23 »
Most of the time, people who switch from qwerty to Colemak, Dvorak... claim that there is no real gain on speed, only on comfort. This makes me believe that typing speed is really in our heads rather than our fingers.

just my 2 cents...

Offline pnutster

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Re: Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 15 December 2014, 10:35:18 »
Most of the time, people who switch from qwerty to Colemak, Dvorak... claim that there is no real gain on speed, only on comfort. This makes me believe that typing speed is really in our heads rather than our fingers.

just my 2 cents...

My initial goal is to find a layout that has less focus on left hand, a bit more on the right hand. I believe that Dvorak may be suitable for what I am trying to accomplish. As for speed. I am slow on QWERTY and will be slow on any other layout for sure ;)
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Offline tufty

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Re: Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« Reply #14 on: Tue, 16 December 2014, 12:42:23 »
Itís common for people to say that ďQWERTY was designed to reduce typing speed.Ē My point is just that thatís a totally false statement. Slower typing was not any part of the design goal for the QWERTY layout. Slower typing is not a side-effect of QWERTYís layout principles either. If QWERTY is slower than other layouts (which hasnít been conclusively demonstrated ever, but seems plausible to me) then thatís totally incidental to QWERTYís design criteria.
Quite. A lot of people say a lot of things that are patently untrue.  My neighbour, for example, will swear blind (and often does, with little or no provocation) that governments the world over, in cahoots with the big petrochem multinationals, are "covering up" a technology that would allow you to run your car, unaltered apart from a "special carburettor", pollution-free and absolutely gratis, on nothing more than water.  He's not even a drooling moron.

Things to consider when dealing with the "QWERTY designed to slow down typists" nonsense
- at the time, there was no "critical mass" of skilled typists.  Typewriters were a new thing.
- QWERTY wasn't even Sholes' proposed layout (he proposed QWE.TY, which Remington "massaged")
- The layout Sholes proposed was based heavily on the physical design of the machine he was selling to Remington, and intended to increase potential typing speed on that machine.  Later Sholes patents included *other* layouts on other machines.   For example:



- It would have made no sense for Sholes, or Remington, to try and sell something that deliberately reduced typing speed.  They were selling a productivity enhancing machine.


Offline steve.v

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Re: Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 18 December 2014, 02:42:47 »
When I typed Qwerty, my fingers were everywhere on the keyboard going from the bottom row to the upper row and back, and also working my left hand. Now when I use Colemak, my fingers reach less and my right hand receives 55% of the workload.

Offline pnutster

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Re: Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 18 December 2014, 09:29:43 »
When I typed Qwerty, my fingers were everywhere on the keyboard going from the bottom row to the upper row and back, and also working my left hand. Now when I use Colemak, my fingers reach less and my right hand receives 55% of the workload.

Thanks Steve!

That sounds good for me. I need a layout that definitely takes away focus on left hand usage. Speed is not my goal, it's all about comfort and more focus on right hand than left.  Not switched yet, still on the fence on Dvorak or Colemak.
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Offline steve.v

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Keyboard layout / more focus on right hand usage vs left
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 18 December 2014, 21:39:28 »
When I typed Qwerty, my fingers were everywhere on the keyboard going from the bottom row to the upper row and back, and also working my left hand. Now when I use Colemak, my fingers reach less and my right hand receives 55% of the workload.

Thanks Steve!

That sounds good for me. I need a layout that definitely takes away focus on left hand usage. Speed is not my goal, it's all about comfort and more focus on right hand than left.  Not switched yet, still on the fence on Dvorak or Colemak.

Both layouts provide ergonomic improvements over qwerty. It'll be between hand alternation versus finger rolls. Colemak retaining the cut,copy,paste letters, (can be remapped in Dvorak). However Standard Dvorak can tire out your right pinky. Both utilizes more right hand load. Good luck!