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    Need tips for rebuilding my typing style

    • Started by James G.
    • 1 Replies:
    • Reputation: 0
    • Registered: 17-Jan-2024
    • Posts: 1

    Years of unergonomic typing seem to be catching up with me. This seems to be where many expert typists congregate (aside from somewhere like Reddit, which I dislike), so I thought it'd be an appropriate place to ask about how I can improve. Here's a link to a video showing me typing a demo paragraph I wrote that should use every letter at least once. In this video I'm using a mid/late-00s Apple keyboard, typing in QWERTY.

    Some of my reflections on my traits and typing, before the video:
    • My fingering is not orthodox. It is the product of 25+ years of improvisation and experience. I learned to type with "Read, Write, and Type" but never had much use for the traditional finger recommendations, which I found cumbersome. Apparently, many other typists have felt the same way.
    • As a result of the above, I've never had a deliberate 'home row' mindset, at least for QWERTY usage. If I do tend to keep my hands there, it's subconscious!
    • My ergonomics and posture have always been lacking. Over the years, I've periodically noticed discomfort here and there, but when that happened I'd just cut out computer use for a few days, and move my arms and hands around, and before long I'd be back to par. Now that I'm 32, I don't think this is working as well.
    • I grew up as a Mac user. Although I now use Linux, I still prefer Mac-style keyboard shortcuts. The ctrl key usually gets remapped to the PC alt position (which is equivalent to the Mac cmd); I've tried it at its usual PC position, but it ultimately seems ergonomic.
    • I'm pretty quick, though not world-class. As I recall, my peak recorded speed (NitroType) is in the 130s, while the speed in this video is in the 110s.
    • I tend to favour my left hand for many tasks, and I suspect typing is one of those. This is likely influenced by a lifetime of right-handed mouse use.
    • My shoulders seem wide for my size. At 5'7, I can comfortably fit into a coat made for someone eight inches taller than me.
    • My hands, however, are probably smaller than average.

    Comments drawn from the video:
    1. I don't know much about posture or positioning, but even to me, it looks like my hands are uncomfortably bent. Not having a keyboard tray seems to be a problem here.
    2. The right hand in particular comes in at close to a 45° angle, which can't be ideal.
    3. It's difficult to get a complete analysis of what keys each finger 'prefers'. I've thought about slowing the video down and trying to do a study, and perhaps I still will, but I thought it'd be more helpful to look at the big picture, and get some advice, before spending time on that. That said:
    a. It looks like I don't use the pinkies much, except for A, backspace, and shift (also, there's a couple of S-strikes in there). That right in particular seems to be often locked in the backspace position, which is perhaps unnecessary; I'm not *that* inaccurate.
    b. The thumbs are largely inert here, except for the space bar. If I was using the modifier keys, the left thumb'd see use for cmd, and the right for AltGr.
    c. It seems like I would rather move my hands than stretch my fingers, and I frequently do. I'd rather use a longer finger than stretch a smaller one.
    d. My main factor for choosing which finger hits a key seems to be which one is closest to the key at the time. In practice, that means that the index gets the most work, followed by the middle and ring. I'm not sure what the exact ratio between these is and whether it is unorthodox or not.

    My current thoughts on remedies:
    I am under something of a price restriction, so things that cost thousands of dollars have to be avoided for the time being. Things that cost hundreds might be saved up for.
    I need to change my desk setup. A bolt-on keyboard tray would be a good start, but I may need to get an entirely new desk, if my current one can't accommodate a tray well enough.
    I ought to stop slouching in my chair. This may take conscious effort.
    I've been considering ergonomic keyboards. The MoErgo Glove80 looks best to me given its traits and my shoulders and hands, but I'm willing to hear out alternatives, if anyone has any.
    Given the focus of this forum, it's natural to mention I've considered non-QWERTY keyboard layouts. I've been trying out Colemak-DH with wide and angle 'mods', but it's difficult to adjust, since I was a quick typist before. I'm not sure if contemporary layout design doesn't make assumptions about things that aren't true for me, too; for instance, they typically prioritize the 'home row' keys, and my ring and middle fingers actually feel a little unnatural on those positions. That said, I know a lot of research have gone into some of these layouts, and it's premature to decide on anything when my hand positioning, etc. is all askew. I'll be in a better position to judge once I've dealt with the keyboard height and all that.

    Any thoughts, comments?

    Last edited by James G. (18-Jan-2024 00:56:46)
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    • Reputation: 210
    • From: Viken, Norway
    • Registered: 13-Dec-2006
    • Posts: 5,345

    Have a read in my BigBag! There's an ergonomics section on the Ergonomy page, and also some tips on the Training page.

    To keep your wrists straight is good for you. There's the vertical and horizontal angles to be considered. I don't use a keyboard tray nor wrist rest, but I do semi-hover my hands at times which makes my wrists vertically straight. For the horizontal angle on a traditional keyboard, I use an Angle mod; see the BigBag ergo page. I also use a Wide ergo mod, but that feels less important than Angle. If, as you say, your shoulders are wide though, it may be nice for you even though it's only one more key width (1u) extra hand separation.

    Lots of people will tell you how important it is to get so-and-so keyboard. While I do believe that a split mech can be nice and ergonomic (and remove the need to use AngleWide ergo mods), I also believe that other factors like a good break regime, good posture and tools&tricks of the kind found in the BigBag can be at least as important. I only use trad keyboards myself, since I use a laptop much of the time. I do have a mech board which is nice, but it doesn't really feel very important to my comfort.

    The Extend method is one example of a very useful and ergonomic tool. Have a look at that too if you haven't already. Of course, some mech boards are programmable which opens up for using several good tricks&tools – including Extend, sticky modifiers and some of the other things I use my EPKL program for.

    Last edited by DreymaR (18-Jan-2024 14:54:05)

    *** Learn Colemak in 2–5 steps with Tarmak! ***
    *** Check out my Big Bag of Keyboard Tricks for Win/Linux/TMK... ***

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