RSI1 is not a new issue, why I am writing about this now?
- Larger smartphone screen sizes.
- People love to spend time with Nintendo Switch.
- Many people started to use the iPad as their primary computer.
- Apple introduced low travel keyboards in their laptops.
We use iPhone a lot. Larger touch screens force your fingers to stretch and work more in unnatural ways.
The Switch allows you to take one of the best games ever made with you, but it’s heavy and Joy-Con controls are tiny, if you have moderate or large hands, your fingers are crippled.
Like laptops introduced new ergonomic challenges, the iPad introduces even more challenges, when working for an extended time, we use elevation docks, external screens. iPad can be used in many more new ways and it’s your job to take care of your body, maintaining natural wrist position and healthy posture.
Not everything that happened brings more risks to your hands, there are positive changes, like ever reducing keyboard travel time. I have a theory that newer quieter keyboards are ergonomically safer.
New thinner MacBook Pro/Air keyboards are not reliable, Apple gets a lot of criticism and rightfully so. However, smaller travel means that your hands have to do less work to press each key. RSI caused by micro-injuries in hand muscles. More travel means more force. Each press is harmless, but when repeating it thousands of times, can accumulate to a big amount of force that your hands have to deal with. Loud typists are at greater risk, and the new keyboard is all about quieter typing.
- Choose a smartphone with a small screen.
- Use a large Pro Controller, give your Switch support while playing, reduce wrist strain.
- Use an external keyboard and stands when working on the iPad.
- Consider keyboards with lower travel time.
Also, there are some simple rules.
- Type as light and quiet as you can.
- Move and shift your entire hands and shoulders.
- Don’t rest your wrists while typing.
- Don’t stretch your finger in unnatural positions while typing.
- Use stronger fingers more, press larger keys with multiple fingers to reduce required force.
- Position your keyboard flat.
- Give your hands and body regular breaks.
The most desired scenario is when you treat your hands with respect and don’t injure yourself in the first place. That’s the easier and healthier option. I am fortunate to have healthy hands so far, however, I had experienced warning signs and I have not ignored them since. I am careful about my hands, particularly, how do I type and play. You should be too. There are many kinds of RSI, but the one I am concerned about the most is the one that injures your wrists to a point that you can’t type without pain or can’t type and play anymore at all. The only cure is time and full recovery is not guaranteed.
We don’t speak about RSI enough. It’s a life injury and it’s happening around us. Normally, only people who already experienced RSI taking measures and talking about it,2 while what everyone in the software industry should do more, is to take preventing measures. I am calling for more RSI awareness among people in software.
I recommend this book (Amazon), which is only available in print. The used price is not bad at all. If you know me in person, I will happily let you borrow it.