Keyboards & Mice (input devices)

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  • The Qwerty keyboard layout was designed in the era of mechanical typewriters. Although it is the most common keyboard layout, it was not designed for ease of use.
  • The Dvorak keyboard layout is arranged so that the most commonly used letters are easiest to reach.
  • The ABC keyboard displays the keys alphabetically.
  • One-handed keyboards allow all letters to be accessed with one hand.
  • Reduced size keyboards are designed for computer users with smaller hands and those requiring smaller finger movements.
  • An on-screen or virtual keyboard displays a virtual keyboard on the computer screen.

Pointing Devices

  • The computer mouse is the standard pointing device.
  • The joystick enables the mouse arrow on the computer screen to be moved by means of a stationary handheld stick.
  • A trackball facilitates mouse arrow movement by means of the rotation of a stationary ball.
  • A touch screen is a transparent screen placed over the computer monitor.  Items can be selected and the mouse arrow moved by the touch of a finger on the screen.
  • A touch pad or track pad produces movement of the mouse arrow as a finger is run across a small flat pad.
  • Head-controlled and eye-controlled devices use sensors to track a user's head or eye movements. The onscreen cursor moves accordingly.
  • Voice recognition software converts one’s speech to text.
  • Switches are devices that enable the user to direct computer operations by means of a single action—such as a tap of a finger (or a toe).
  • Sip-puff switches are activated by sipping and puffing on a device called a straw or a wand.
  • Wireless switches can be accessed remotely.
  • A Switch interface device connects a switch to a computer and enables it to function.

Accessibility Tools are modifiable features provided within a computer's operating system.  For example, the mouse keys feature enables one to control the mouse arrow by using several keys on the keyboard.