How to find advice about ergonomics?

I’ve been looking around, trying to find advice to make it a bit easier and a bit less painful to use the computer.

All the standard advice seems to assume that the standard human being (a) has good coordination (b) has both hands © can easily use each hand (d) can easily use both hands together (e) can use both hands without looking at what they are doing (f) this is getting absurd. For example, some of the standard advice assumes that everyone should always use both hands whenever we need to simultaneously press two different keys. Now for me, that standard advice would mean I would have to carefully position both hands and have to carefully press with both hands at the same time. For another example, all of the standard advice assumes that we should have the keyboard in one place while looking at the monitor in another place, in order to reduce neck strain.

I have both hands, fortunately, and was with difficulty able to use my left hand while my right was badly injured. But I cannot easily use my left. And I cannot easily form certain grips, or use both together, or use either without looking at what I am doing.

So how should the rest of us find non-standard advice for non-standard human beings?

I keep finding the same standard advice, even if I search for clumsiness, or for proprioceptive issues, or even for one hand. If I search for clumsiness, I find the same standard advice, with the warning that rsi can cause clumsiness. If I search for proprioceptive issues, I find the same standard advice, with the warning that rsi can cause proprioceptive issues. If I search for one hand, I get the various warnings about how we should always type with two hands.

So where is there advice about ergonomics for me and for the rest of us?


Those are really good questions. Are there message boards relating to specific issues that might have people who have dealt with these or similar issues, such as message board for people who are amputees or have problems using both hands?

I found this link:

I’m not sure how useful it would be, but you can check it out.

Also, this:

Again, I don’t know how useful it will be, or if it addresses your specific struggles, but maybe so?

[edited to add] Actually, some of the one-handed keyboards they show on that second link look really futuristic and cool!

but you’re right, there does seem to be a lack of advice on ergonomics for people who aren’t fully able-bodied. That seems like it should be the priority to me.

I usually go for small standard keyboards without numerical extras between the keyboard and the mouse. I can’t use the big standard keyboards though because a lot of the double-key presses and up too far to reach with one hand. It is a trade-off between having to move around the keyboard for everything and having to coordinate double-key and triple-key presses for everything.

I used to use a cheap Adesso mini keyboard, but it had extra (mal)function keys on the edges. I currently use a built-in laptop keyboard, since it is small enough.

I just checked, and the standard advice is that the top, not the middle, of the monitor should be at eye level. I have an old desk, for someone bigger than me, so it puts the keyboard about 3" about elbow level and the top of the monitor about 5" above eye level. I suppose desk height and chair advice could still make sense, even if keyboard/monitor size and position advice still need revision. edit: would require correction for different proportions, too…

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Although about 25" for the keyboard area and 30" for the backarea would be reasonable… how on earth do I find a desk of a given size online?

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Word. Touch typing is painful and confusing even with a no more physical drawbacks than being a klutz with a short attention span, IMO.

Apropos accessibility, have you tried voice commands? I tried to to get the bloke I work for, who has MS, into using Dragon to control his computer, but sadly, he’s mentally not capable of it now, I don’t think, it’s hit his brain as well. it looks pretty slick on their advertorials, when it’s an experienced user* showing it off. It’s definitely something I want to try with people with accessibility issues in the future.

*Waits patiently for wildly conflicting reports from BBS users

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Not drinking, but I tried other options

Not drinking, but I’ve tried other options not drinking, but I’ve tried other options

Not drinking, but I’ve tried other options this isn’t working. Dictation software simply cannot do certain things. Well the dictation software that’s available today Will not the dictation software that’s available today well not the dictation software that’s available today.


It’s been six years since this started, and 1 1/2 years since I posted about this, and it’s still getting worse, in both arms. I don’t know what I can do.

I picked up an adjustable table which I’m using as a desk. I haven’t found an average-size desk chair. I can lower it to minimum height, add a pad to take pressure off my tailbones, etc. but I can’t really rest my back.

I think either salicylate sensitivity or salicylate build-up is contributing to my hyperacusis and other issues, but cutting salicylates doesn’t exactly help with my nerve pain.

I have tried Dragon, but I have had a lot of trouble with it too, and can’t use the Firefox plug-in because it makes the window bob up and down.

I picked up a used and apparently damaged Kindle Dx and use it to read pdfs and other converted files on a decent-sized screen. without having to use the computer for that. I still use the Iriver Story Hd too.


I’m sorry this has been such a struggle for you. I’m glad to see you’re still trying to find things that work for you, even if it is tough. I wish I knew what to say to help out, but I honestly don’t. All I can really say is good luck and keep trying to figure this out.

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