We've talked about how to ergonomically optimise your desk, but if you're rocking a smartphone or tablet, you may find that it's hard to follow the same rules. InfoWorld shares some tips on avoiding RSI when using your mobile devices.
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While it's hard to use tablets in the same way you'd use a computer, the risks of injury are the same: repeated motion, unnatural postures, and bright screens can all cause injury if you aren't careful. The problem with smartphones and tablets is that you can literally use them in a million different positions -- most of which probably aren't very good for your body. Over at InfoWorld, Dr. Franklin Tessler goes through some of the things you'll want to be aware of. We highly recommend reading the whole thing, but for those of you reading this on your tablet right now, here's the gist:
- Holding your tablet flat is bad for your neck, but holding it completely perpendicular is bad for your wrists. As such, you'll want to compromise by holding it at a 30 degree angle when you're typing or using the touch screen. If you're just reading, you can position it closer to perpendicular, at whatever angle makes it easy to see.
- Tap lightly on the keyboard. Many people have a tendency to tap very hard on touch screen keyboards because they lack the tactile feedback of physical keyboards. This is bad for your fingers, wrists, and forearms. If you're typing something longer than just a few sentences at a time, it's probably worth investing in a Bluetooth keyboard.
- As you type or use the touch screen, be sure to keep your wrists straight, while keeping your arms and fingers loose and relaxed.
- Avoid eye strain by making the font larger when possible. If you're using a program that doesn't allow you to set the font size, you can buy glasses specifically made for reading tablet displays. If you're doing a lot of reading, we also recommend trying eye-friendly e-Ink readers like the Kindle as opposed to the iPad. If you're using an iPad, you can also use the colour adjusting F.lux to keep the harsh blue light to a minimum.
These are just some of the main bullet points of Dr. Tessler's advice, but they're a good place to start if you find your neck, wrists or eyes have suffered since picking up that new tablet or smartphone. Hit the link to read the full article, and if you've found any tricks that work especially well for you, share them in the comments below.
The Hidden Danger of Touch Screens [Infoworld]