The Human Interface And Computer Ergonomics

by Barbara J. Feldman on February 20, 2008

Computers have come a long way through the years. It used to be that computers took up an entire room, and no one ever dreamed that one day you would be able to fit one on your lap or on top of a small desk.

Now, computers are equipped with a number of human interface devices. Human interface devices are those things that take their cues from the user. The most commonly thought of ones include the keyboard, which displays what you type on the screen, and the mouse, which moves where the user tells it to go.

But the way you interface with your computer can have an overall effect on your health, especially if you spend a lot of time in front of the computer. Problems such as eye strain, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, poor posture, and others are all attributed to the way you use your human interface devices and set up your workstation in general.

Computer ergonomics can help alleviate these stress conditions by focusing on a number of different things with the human interface devices, including:
Wrist support for the keyboard
Key board angle
Chair height and type
Back support
Lighting in the room
Placement of documents, phones, and other frequently used items

The following are some computer ergonomics guidelines for creating a safer, more user-friendly environment when working at your computer:

 Adjust your monitor. You can save yourself a few headaches by adjusting the brightness and contrast on your monitor if the screen flickers. In addition, positioning the monitor at eye level or slightly below will also help reduce strain on your neck.
 Use keyboard and mouse pad supports. Your wrists need proper support while typing and using the mouse, so consider investing in support pads and guards for your key board and mouse. These are usually under ten dollars each and can really help reduce the amount of strain on your wrists.
 Place documents appropriately. Your documents should be in line with the text on your screen. Use a document holder so you don’t have to constantly look from your desk to your computer screen.
 Use a good chair. You don’t need an expensive chair with all the bells and whistles, but you should make sure your chair has a good back support to promote good posture. It should also have wheels and, ideally, five legs.
 Make sure your work space has enough room. A cramped work space that doesn’t have enough room for your phone, documents and books, keyboard, and anything else you may have on your desk or table. You should also place your keyboard at a far enough position that your elbows can rest comfortably at a ninety degree angle.
 Adjust lighting. The lighting in your area will also have a big effect. Place your monitor so that it’s not in the direct line of a window, lamp, or other light source. This can cause glare and reflections on your screen.

The human interface devices have definitely made working at a computer more convenient in a number of ways. However, the use of these devices can also place a number of strains on the body.

Implementing computer ergonomics can greatly help reduce the effects of the human interface on the body. The above are a few easy ways you can apply computer ergonomics and the human interface.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "The Human Interface And Computer Ergonomics." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 20 Feb. 2008. Web. 29 Nov. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/334/the-human-interface-and-computer-ergonomics/ >.