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Keyboards and Other Computer Accessories for Left-Handed People

Aug 17, 2007
Being left-handed used to be a huge problem as most implements, including computer keyboards were designed to be used in a right-handed manner. There are still a number of issues affecting left-handed people but now there are a number of different keyboard and mouse solutions available.

Right-handed people often fail to realize that keyboards created for them are extremely uncomfortable and awkward for a left-handed person. There are left-handed keyboards available widely now and these have the orientation of the keys designed for a left-hander. The main difference between the two types of keyboard is that the numeric keyboard and directional arrow keys are situated on the left of the keyboard instead of the more common right. This apparently simple reorganization of the keyboard offers a left-handed person a much more natural layout.

Tracker ball mice are equally easy to use for right or left-handed people. It is a simple configuration change that allows the functions of the buttons on either side of the mouse. However, some tracker balls have been built in to keyboards and, yes, you guessed it, these are positioned on the right of the keyboard and can become almost impossible for a left-handed person to use. Now these keyboards are available with the integral tracker ball positioned on the left hand side.

Any keyboard or mouse that is promoted as being 'ergonomic' will usually fill a left-hander with dismay. The design is nearly always in favour of a right-hander. All us left-handers used to be stuck with very basic ambidextrous mice and had to struggle with a right-handed keyboard. A growing number of keyboard and related accessories manufacturers are realizing that there is a huge market for ergonomically designed products that have left-handers in mind. It isn't just enough for a mouse to be able to have its buttons configured for left or right-hand use, the shape has to be appropriate too.

The real issue for left-handed people is cost. Keyboards and accessories are mass produced in greater numbers for right-handers than they are for left. This often means that the cost of left-handed keyboards and the like are higher. It is worth noting that a company must provide a left-handed person with the adequate tools to do their job, just as they do with right-handers.
About the Author
S. Stammberger is editor of HardwareExperts . Hardware tips and a tutorial of how to build a computer system.
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