We’re almost there! But we haven’t yet considered how the user will interact with the computer, which means providing at least a keyboard and mouse!
Choose a Keyboard
Keyboards come in many shapes, sizes, and styles. They also have categories. The first is whether they are wired (USB) or wireless. After that, there are conventional layouts, curved or ergonomic. There are also special keyboards with extra multimedia buttons or those to help people with conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Some people have a preference for shape or brand, so ask before purchasing for them.
Wireless keyboards offer the benefit of - well - having no wire, which can help keep a desk tidy. The user can also stow the keyboard in a drawer when not in use.
Let's look at three wireless keyboard options:
Bluetooth (BT) keyboards use the Bluetooth wireless standard to pair with the PC operating system’s Bluetooth service. The PC must have a Bluetooth adapter. You might get one with the keyboard, or you might have to buy your own. You could also choose a motherboard with built-in Bluetooth (it’s not common, so it may be expensive).
This means that the keyboard will not be ready for use during system startup - which is when you need to press a key to enter the motherboard’s setup pages. In other words: if a PC has a Bluetooth keyboard, you might need to plug in a wired one to set up the machine or perform on-site maintenance later.
The benefit of a Bluetooth keyboard is that you can also pair it with your phone or tablet, should you wish.
Non-Bluetooth Wireless Keyboards
Wireless (non-Bluetooth) keyboards communicate with their receiver rather than pairing with the operating system’s Bluetooth service so that they appear to the computer like an ordinary wired keyboard.
Such keyboards will work during PC startup and can be used to select the motherboard setup program.
Multimedia (Media) Keyboards
These keyboards include controls for audio playback and volume control, usually as an additional top row of knobs and buttons.
Choose a Mouse
There’s a vast array of wired and wireless mice available. Some mice have ergonomic shapes, while others have extra buttons for multimedia applications and gaming.
Some people have a preference for mouse shape or brand, so ask before purchasing one for them.
You can also purchase special mice, which are differently-shaped PC controllers. For example, the trackball mouse, or commercial products, such as the Penguin, are designed for people with wrist difficulties who find conventional mice painful to use after a while.
Wireless mice can be Bluetooth (or not).
An Alternative Input Device: The Graphics Tablet
People working in graphic design or video editing may want a graphics (digitizing) tablet, which can be used in place of, or in addition to, a mouse. Graphics tablets can be pen- or puck-input devices and come in various sizes from A5 upwards.
Consider Desktop Ergonomics
Almost all desktop mice use an optical assembly to sense movement. These sometimes do not work well on shiny, plain-colored, or glass-topped desks. In this case, a mouse pad provides a mouse-friendly area.
Pads range from simple, fabric-covered soft foam square to solid rubber ones. You can also find ones made from recycled materials
Your PC user may also need a wrist or wrist-and-elbow rest to take pressure off the nerves, wrists, and elbows while typing. There’s a vast array of these products available as gel-filled and fabric items:
Here are some points to consider when shopping for a keyboard, mouse, or alternative input device:
Which type of interface? Wired or wireless, Bluetooth or not?
Any ergonomic needs? Does the user need a specific type or layout?
Any accessories needed? Any need for a mouse pad, a wrist, or wrist-and-elbow rest?
🎯 Time to go online again.
⚙️ Find a supplier for the following:
An ergonomic media keyboard suitable for people with a physical condition such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
A mouse or alternative input device also suitable for someone who finds using a normal mouse difficult.
A gel wrist rest for your customer.
Your computer will need a keyboard and mouse (or other input device) to allow the user to drive the operating system and applications.
Keyboards and mice are available as wired and wireless.
Typing on a computer for even short periods of time can be difficult for some people. You can make it easier for them by purchasing specially-shaped keyboards and mice, or by adding gel and fabric wrist and elbow rests.
You now have a near-complete set of PC parts, although there’s a few other basic items that you need to make it useful - let’s see what we also need.