One of my ongoing missions, despite all of the lovely hardware keyboards available, is to find a way to write comfortably for longer periods of time on the iPad. I’m actually surprised there aren’t more articles out there that acknowledge that the iPad isn’t really a very ergonomic setup for touch typing. I can’t be the only one suffering from occasional pins and needles, or soreness from typing for too long at the tablet.
In fact, a few minutes of typing is usually enough to I start to cause the dreaded finger tingles that signal the return of RSI. However, in the interests of science and my own morbid curiousity, I push onward and try out different sitting and typing positions every once in a while.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my posture while I type and how it distributes the weight and pressure on my wrists. My latest attempt at a more sustainable typing position involves keeping my feet flat on the ground, lower back pressed ups against the chair, and generally reclining while looking down at the iPad. This takes a lot of strain off of my wrists, and because I don’t have to bend them upwards as far, and I’m finding I can type for a good 15-20 minutes in this position before actually feeling uncomfortable.
Another key has been to experiment with keyboards that minimize the numbers of keystrokes I actually need to complete a sentence. I’ve written about Nintype and Fleksy before,but I’m giving SwiftKey another thank due to its more aggressive auto-suggestion algorithm. SwiftKey is much faster the iOS QuickType keyboard at showing corrections and at displaying predictions for what my next word will be, so a lot of my typing can be reduced to simply tapping on the spacebar to confirm the currently suggested word.
I’m also learning to try and type at a slower pace on the iPad. Doing so has reduced the number of typos in my pieces, but also made it a little easier on my hands. My fingers tend to fly on real keyboards because I can feel the he rhythm of a sentence and how much pressure certain keys will respond to, but it’s a very different experience on a touchscreen that doesn’t move. I’m finding a lighter, more deliberate touch just feels better and ends up being more accurate overall.