Part three in my six-part series What is Steno Good For?
In part one I talked about how people who used speech synthesizers to communicate could use steno to speak as quickly and as easily as people who use their voices. In part two I concentrated on the fluency that steno brings to prose composition and programming. In this article I want to talk about the ergonomic benefits of steno, with special emphasis on split screen steno keyboard configurations.
When I first started studying steno, I was a qwerty transcriptionist, working for a television captioning company. Three hours of nonstop typing at breakneck speed in the morning, an hour for lunch, four more hours of frantic typing in the afternoon. By the end of the week, my wrists would be screaming, and I started to worry that my temporary day job was dooming my future career. I tried getting a Microsoft Natural keyboard, which claimed to offer a more ergonomic slope to the wrists, but I didn’t stop feeling that Friday ache until I was able to abandon qwerty and start using my steno keyboard at work.