Ergonomic Keyboard Tray
After the ergonomic chair, some say an ergonomic keyboard tray is the second most important component of an ergonomic workstation. Why? They hold the keyboard to your computer, the support of your primary activity with the computer.
An ergonomic computer keyboard tray are also known as an 'articulating keyboard system'. In general, if you work on your computer more than two hours a day, you ought to install ergonomic computer keyboard trays.
Ergonomic keyboard trays are more than something your keyboard rests on. Here are some distinguishing features and how they are ergonomic for our bodies.
Distinguishing Feature of Ergonomic Computer Keyboard Trays
3. Mouse House
4. The Rest Stop/ Wrists and Palm Rest
Height Adjustment Features
Probably the most important job of ergonomic keyboard tray is the ability to change the height of the keyboard for you.This feature allows you to maintain an ideal keyboard height in correlation to your body.
There are supplementary ergonomic equipment such as the ergonomic keyboard arm.
A keyboard tilt is also another important feature or keyboard trays. You can adjust it such that your keyboard supports the natural wrist position. When using the keyboard, your angle of your arms should remain relatvely constant. This is also known as the Neutral Reach Zone position.
The Neutral Reach Zone
"The Neutral Reach Zone is the area that can be conveniently reached with a sweep of the forearm, while the upper arm hangs in a natural position at the side." - Sanders and McCormick, 1993
Therefore, the ergonomic keyboard tray is designed to facilitate that.
There are various theories and arguments over ergonomics researchers discussing what is the best keyboard tilt. Some argue they should be flat and lower than the desk (hence the need for a keyboard tray), such that your arms are 90 degress when typing. Others recommend that they should negatively sloped. See this quote from Dr Alan Hedge from Cornell.
"A decade of ergonomics research shows that using a negatively sloped, adjustable keyboard tray maximizes the time spent working in the neutral hand, wrist and upper body postures. These postural benefits can't be achieved by just using a keyboard on a height adjustable work surface."
It should be placed next to the keyboard at the same level.
Ideally, the ergonomic keyboard tray should have 'mouse houses' (the place where you put your mouse) on both the LEFT and RIGHT of the keyboard. Why? There are studies that show switching muscles will keep them from being worn out.
It makes suggestions that we should switch our mouse hand at work. Developing this habit of being able to use both hands on your mouse is known as mouse ambidexterity. Time taken to attain that skill? Supposedly two weeks. :)
The Rest Stop/ Wrist and Palm Rest
They are meant only to be used when your hands are not moving. It is recommended that we do not use a wrist rest while actively typing. See also typing ergonomics.
The hand posture should also be maintained at a natural wrist position.
Slip and Slide Feature
This feature of the keyboard tray allows you to adjust the user's arms to be at a comfortable position when working at the computer. Not to mention, it's a great way to store the keyboard efficiently.
Keyboard trays are usually stable. This minimizes the stress off your arms and fingers, shoulders and neck. Unlike the wobbly drawer keyboard trays that comes with computer desks, ergonomic keyboard trays are designed to be solid and still. So make sure you test out the quality of your ergonomic tray.The ergonomic guideline is to have a solid keyboard base for more effective ergonomics.
Ergonomic Keyboard Arm
An alternative to the keyboard trays is the ergonomic keyboard arm. The benefit is that it is adjustable to fit multiple users using the same workstation.