On a regular size keyboard, I can type 70 wpm. And yet, a few years ago, I was in danger of losing my job at a major Internet company. Why? My hands hurt. My hands began to hurt all the time.
Nothing new. People who type a lot get carpal tunnel syndrome and suffer from repetitive motion stress. Women and older employees are more likely to have this problem.
After watching other people type, and reading about the kind of pain that other people felt, I came to the conclusion that my keyboard was too big for me.
Let me backtrack a bit. I am under five feet tall. I weigh less than 100 pounds. I am a perfect size 12 — almost. That's a children's size 12 and what keeps me from being perfect is my waist. I have one. Children do not have a small waist in comparison with their other measurements. I also have hands and feet that are small for my size.
When I played the piano as a junior high school student, I had one teacher who, with a faux kindness that made her Southern accent grating to my nerves, assured me that with practice, I would be able to reach an octave. All I got was pain that spanned across the back of my hands. When I quit playing piano, the pain stopped.
And this pain was similar to what I felt when I typed too much.
If a keyboard is made, like many things, for the average man, then for the person who is smaller, much smaller than the average male, the keyboard is oversized.
I noticed how other people's hands fit and flitted across their keyboards. How they didn't have to strain their forefingers and pinkies and didn't have to look down because they could touch type.
After some research, I found and showed to my consulting ergo person what I considered a solution. The most the company was willing to provide was a slim profile board — the keys were still too far apart.
The keyboards that I bought and currently use are one third smaller than the average keyboard. The one that is readily available, by A4 Tech, comes in various colors. I have ABC at the top of the board and the keys are colored to help me along. There's also software to help teach typing that I've never looked at.