Careful with Half-QWERTY…

This is why, if I had had a choice years ago, I would not only have refused QWERTY but Half-QWERTY (or the 508 keyboard, as I am right handed) as well. A cautionary note from a therapist, found here:

“As with 10-finger typing, Half-QWERTY presents a risk for developing repetitive strain injury (RSI). Due to the continuous use of just one hand and the awkward hand positions required to make many key combinations, it is suggested that the risk is even greater with this one-handed method. Therefore, this would not be a safe method for someone who has a history of RSI and/or someone who has a lot of typing to do at one time. If a fast typing rate is important to your client there may be other access methods that will allow for faster typing speeds, for example voice recognition.” — Jacqueline Chin, B.Sc.H, O.T.(C)

I’d be more concerned with my health, I think… if you’re going to shrink a keyboard, do it some way that makes ergonomic sense…QWERTY makes even less sense for a one handed person when it’s folded in half! Any keyboard is going to be more work one-handed, but don’t make it harder than it has to be! There are better choices.

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One Response to Careful with Half-QWERTY…

  1. onehandkeyboard says:

    I wonder how much of the RSI risk is due to the chording nature of Half-QWERTY? You have to hold spacebar to type half of the keys. That can’t be great for hand strain.

    I’ve released a one-hand typing layout that works in a similar fashion. The key difference though is that you never have to hold spacebar. The app figures out what word you meant to type automatically. Type the keys “tges” and the app corrects the word to “this”.

    Free versions below:

    Mac App Store:

    Windows PC:

    If you use a standard “spacebar to flip” version of Half-QWERTY I’d be interested to know what you think.

    (By the way, the reason these kinds of keyboard layouts exist is because they’re extremely easy for an injured two-hand typist to learn. You can start touch-typing with them in less than 5 minutes, compared to weeks for a dedicated/optimized one-hand layout. You’re right though, if the injury is permanent, something like Maltron or one-hand Dvorak would be the better choice.)

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