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Ergonomic Product Categories > Writing Surfaces
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Writing Surfaces

What are Writing Surfaces?

Writing Surfaces are common workstation accessories used to improve the ability to write notes and edit physical documents.  Even in the contemporary modern office, there is a surprising amount of paperwork and accompanying 'real estate' in the workstation to create, edit and annotate this material.  While a flat surface should be all that is required (i.e. any tabletop), creating a viable writing surface while also working on a computer can pose a challenge. 

Typically this type of accessory provides the ability to improve the physical location and angle of the writing easel to facilitate writing when intermixed with other tasks.  Other secondary functions of Writing Surfaces are to function as Document Holders and Book Holders a task for which they are quite suitable as most writing activities also involve reading. 

What are the Ergonomic Benefits of a Writing Surface?
Writing Surfaces can help to ensure proper posture by placing materials that need to be written on Inline, or in a less awkward position in the workstation of a user.  This helps to reduce Overextension when placing and removing documents from the writing area. 

Alternatively, Writing Surfaces can reposition the writing area to be immediately to the left or right of the monitor at a substantially different angle than the desktop, which can improve issues with neck posture by removing the need to look down at reference materials and support the head in that posture for extended periods of time.

What are Potential Concerns when Considering a Writing Surface?
Writing Surfaces are not ideal for all types of reference materials.  Thicker piles of papers, binders, file folders and books can be difficult to properly position on Writing Surfaces.  Some materials may have to be 'wedged open' (e.g. hard-cover books and file folders) and no Writing Surface has features which will address all these media types.

Writing Surfaces do not typically make great Book Holders.  As a multi-purpose worksurface to put awkward materials on, they may be adequate, but if the primary task of the surface is not extensive writing activities, the better choice of product would likely be a Book Holder

Writing Surfaces must be able to be set up so that they are solid and stable, as they will typically have to take the partial or complete weight of the arm when being used.  Failure to take this into account will lead to an unusable writing easel, without strategies to address this (using soft lead pencils or gel pens, and avoiding resting the arm heavily on the Writing Surface).

For What Types of Tasks / Users are Writing Surfaces Suitable? 
When writing, the optimal angle is significantly more horizontal than vertical (somewhere between 0° and 40°).  When viewing reference materials, the optimal angle is significantly more vertical than horizontal (somewhere between 50° and 90°).  As such for applications where writing on materials will be a regular component of the function of the device, Writing Surfaces are suitable.  However if the accessory is primarily being used for viewing and occasional brief writing on most types of loose materials, consider Document Holders as an alternative. 

What Physical Injuries or Conditions Typically Benefit from a Writing Surface?
Writing Surfaces can be of benefit to a wide variety of individuals including individuals with conditions such as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Cubital Tunnel Syndrome (by preventing pressure on the elbow).



Last edited December 9th, 2013

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