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Ergonomic Product Categories > Keyboards > Mini Keyboards          
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Mini Keyboards

What are Mini Keyboards?

A Mini Keyboard is a keyboard whose primary feature is a reduced size keycaps or key pitch.  In addition, most Mini Keyboards are also Compact Keyboards as they have removed the discrete numeric keypad on the keyboard, opting instead for a Embedded Numeric KeypadThis allows the keyboard to have a substantially smaller horizontal footprint than conventional keyboards which are typically 18" wide.  Some Mini Keyboards are as small as 8" wide.

What are the Ergonomic Benefits of an Mini Keyboard?

The only ergonomic benefit arises from the common design requirement that Mini Keyboards are typically relatively symmetrical, with the removal of the discrete numeric keypad.  This allows for the mouse to be located in the space created through the removal of the numeric keypad.  For right handed users this will help to reduce Overextension for the mouse and bring it into their Comfort Zone.  Some Mini Keyboards are also Neutral or Negatively Inclined as a function of their portability, which would provide benefits as noted for that class of keyboard, but this is not always the case.

A secondary benefit is that Mini Keyboards are of course smaller than most other types of keyboard, so for mobile workstations the ability to transport them easily provides some ergonomic benefit.

What are Potential Concerns when Considering a Mini Keyboard?

Mini Keyboards do not actually improve the ergonomics of the keyboard in any manner (they simply improve the geographical location of the mouse).  The same risk factors of Ulnar Deviation, Pronation and Wrist Extension which are inherent in conventional keyboards typically apply to Mini Keyboards.

For What Types of Tasks / Users are Mini Keyboards Suitable? 

The primary benefit of a Mini Keyboard is usually the portability associated with the smaller size.  For users who routinely enter keyboard input on tablets or laptops and need to transport their devices regularly, an easily portable external keyboard is beneficial.  However, for users who typically use their tablet or laptop in one or two regular locations, there are more ergonomic benefits to be garnered from other types of keyboards which do not have portability as their key design feature.

There is one type of user for whom Mini Keyboards are not only suitable, but who can actually realize significant ergonomic benefits from using a Mini Keyboard.  This user is of course children who have smaller finger tips and hands, and the reduced key pitch is appropriate for the scaled down size of their hands.  Unfortunately this benefit cannot typically be realized by even the shortest adults as the hand size of all adults is still substantially larger than children.

What Physical Injuries or Conditions Typically Benefit from Compact Keyboards?

Mini Keyboards can be of benefit to a wide variety of children users including children seeking to avoid the risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  As they also reduce the amount of movement to use the mouse, they are of potential benefit to children at risk of developing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.



Last edited December 9th, 2013

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