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One Handed Typing

Speeding up input

Often one-handed keyboard typing is rather slow and as only one hand is being used it can also be quite tiring. Both these problems can be solved, to a certain degree, by the use of prediction software such as Penfriend or Co:writer.

Access Options for one-handed typists

I've found that people handle this situation in different ways and the solution seems to depend on whether it's a temporary condition, as well as the pupil's physical abilities, muscle strength, cognition and memory. That's the thing about adaptive technology in general: it's a very individual thing and it's important not to pigeon-hole people's conditions. This page is designed as a quick read but in making it I stumbled across a more detailed website called About One Hand Typing External Link.

DVORAK Keyboard Layout

Standard Keyboard with special layout (FREE)

It's possible to remap a standard computer keyboard with a layout designed for a one-handed user simply by downloading a free file from the Internet! One layout is available for right-handed users and another for left-handed. It also helps to buy some keyboard stickers from a supplier such as Inclusive Technology External Link so that you can mark your new layout without having to physically dismantle your keyboard.

Find out how to download and install a one-handed Dvorak keyboard map at the Microsoft Enable External Link website.

Compact Keyboard

Compact/Mini Keyboard (£20 and above)

These keyboards are often recommended for one-handed typists as there is less lateral movement required to get from key to so less work involved when typing with one hand. Personally I'm not really sure how true this is as the distance from Q to P is roughly the same as on a standard keyboard.

They are, however, much more maneuverable and this means that they can be put into a more comfortable position for that one hand... [more]

Maltron One-Hand Keyboard

Maltron Keyboard (£300)

These are especially designed for single-handed touch typing. According to the Maltron website External Link, one user has demonstrated a typing rate of 85 words per minute.

Having said that they're rather odd-looking which can easily discourage school children. Personally I've never found them particularly comfortable to type on, not just because of the odd layout (which you do eventually get used to) but because of the rather flimsy materials that the keyboard is constructed from.

Half-QWERTY Keyboard

Half Qwerty (£450)

You place your useable hand where it would normally be as if you were touch-typing with two hands. To type the letters of the opposite half of the keyboard, you hold down the space bar and do the same finger movement that would normally be done by the other hand. Hitting the space bar alone still types a space.

This method is said to encourage fast typing and as you're essentially touch-typing should your hand ever recover you should be able to use both hands without having to learn another technique.

This is great for existing touch-typists who can adapt very quickly. Keytools External Link have some statistics that show that typing on this is faster and quicker to learn than a chorded keyboard (see below).

Chorded Keyboard

Chorded Keyboard (£90)

Although it looks like it'd be very difficult to learn to use a chorded keyboard like the CyKey External Link it is actually surprisingly easy. It really does only take around twenty minutes to learn the most useful finger combinatiosn (chords).

The device is wireless and light and small (around as big as a postcard and as thin as a pencil).

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 7

Voice / Speech Recognition (£120 for Preferred edition)

If you haven't seen speech recognition software in use recently then it's time for a demo. With a modern computer and an up-to-date copy of Dragon NaturallySpeaking (my personal preference but I haven't used the others for a while) and some training (very important!) you can dictate documents in very little time and with very little hassle.

The software is very accurate and very fast, but some places (e.g. the classroom) aren't necessarily a suitable environment for nattering to one's computer.

There are some great video demonstrations on VoicePower's Website External Link.

There appears to be an interesting page about shoe-drying machines on their website External Link too.

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