Mac Computer Designs – cool design, but not really ergonomic

I think you would be hard-pressed to find a person that doesn’t like the look of a Mac computer.  Sleek, simple, white – the products are modern and futuristic.  But unfortunately the ergonomics on Mac products could be better.

Let’s start with the iMac hard drive/monitor combination.  My main complaint about this monitor is that it is not height adjustable.  For people of shorter stature, the screen is too high which forces them to tilt their chin up and as a result, overuse their neck extension muscles.  This can result in a sore neck and/or shoulders along with the potential for headaches.  Also, the screen is glossy which increases the potential for glare.  Glare not only causes eye strain, but also causes people to change their posture to avoid the glare, e.g. leaning to one side of the chair or the other in order to see the screen.

Moving on to the compact keyboard, this could also be improved.  On the plus side, a compact keyboard is great for allowing the mouse to be closer to the user and reduce reaching.  On the negative side, this compact keyboard is too small for larger people.  Wrist radial deviation becomes more pronounced and increases the risk for injury.  Also, the keys seem a bit stiff and require more force to type.  This over time can result in fatigue and overuse.

Lastly, the Apple Magic Mouse.  It looks great, but it requires awkward postures when scrolling and swiping.  I always discourage scrolling as is requires excessive activation of the finger and wrist extensor muscles.  These muscles become tight and overused easily and scrolling is the culprit.  Adding two-finger horizontal swiping to the mix intensifies the risk factors for this mouse.  And the larger surface area for scrolling further compounds the problem, along with the “claw-like” posture that requires excessive activation of the finger flexors.

In a perfect world, design and function would complement each other, and hopefully in the future this will be the case with Macs.

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