One of the most important things to realize is that newer input devices are designed to address specific user needs.
A few of the common types of alternative input devices and their purpose follow:
- Vertical mice – position the wrist into a neutral (handshake) position, decreasing stress on the wrist and forearm.
- Contoured mice – position the wrist closer to a neutral position (somewhere between hand flat on the desk and the handshake position)
- Trackball – designed to allow the user to move the ball rather than the whole device (typically reduces reaching, repetitive wrist motion, good for limited mouse space)
- Left/Bilateral mice – designed for left hand use or to allow the user to switch between right and left handed mouse use.
- Central – some newer devices are designed to be positioned near the centre of the bottom of the keyboard. Generally, the aim is to reduce reaching and wrist motion.
- Graphics tablets – highly specialized devices, typically used for users working in graphics applications.
Unfortunately, the ‘perfect’ mouse hasn’t been designed yet, there are always tradeoffs. That’s why it is important to make sure that you choose the right tool for the job. And that right tool will be specific to you, your hand size and your work tasks. But beware – without careful selection, a new device may transfer the stress to another part of the body.