The “Pocket Ergonomist” have just told me that almost everything I do at a terminal is wrong. Using clear clickable graphics and simple cross referenced explanations, it is quietly insisting that I know nothing about the mechanics of sitting, looking and typing.
Still, there is this odd pain in my elbow. Click, ah yes. Probably right. What about the eye strain. It may be Possible. Actually quite useful. It seems that after 25 years of computing there is a help file on the system which is about me.
This shareware edition of the New Zealand government’s official ergonomics guide comes as an easy to use Windows help file. Starting from a simple diagram of an “ideal” computer workstation operator you are prompted to “click where it hurts” and will rapidly find general advice on most of the ergonomics of VDU/Keyboard use. Couldn’t be easier really.
As with all help systems, as opposed to manuals, the information you see is structured, relevant and rapid – which means it is much more likely to be used. Anytime you get the odd twinge the facts can pasted over your height adjusted, glare free screen in a couple of strain free clicks.
One point to stress: the guide is about ergonomics, not treatment. It’s trying to make sure that you sit type, see and move in the correct way, and so prevent minor pains from becoming treatable conditions. In this it has already helped me and I’m recommending that my co-tele-workers take a look at it.
The full version is said to include more goodies in the form of a paper copy, a workstation adjustment guide, and a copy of the “Pocket Stress Reliever” – all for about thirty quid inc P&P from New Zealand. I suspect there’d be a market for a lower priced, downloadable, software only version, but I’ll be content with the shareware until the full version makes it here.
The guide also says: “Only use this product if you accept responsibility for your own health”. I presume that this was intended as a disclaimer, but with tools like this there is really no excuse for anybody not to.