Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

How Do Blind People Type?

Here's an article for our sighted friends. Once a month, I help conduct disability awareness training for TARC our local bus company. This includes both the fixed route and paratransit drivers. It's my job to answer their general questions about blindness and how blind people travel with dog guides.

Recently, a driver asked how I am able to type. Specifically, how do I know where to place my hands in order to find the home row. After I explained it to him, I thought his question would make a great Fred's Head article and here it is.

I'd like you all to do something for me. Look down at your keyboard and locate the letters of F and J. By any chance, do you notice anything a little different about those two keys? Well, depending on the color of your keyboard, it may be a little hard to see, but those two letters happen to have a little "bump" on them. It's just a little line that goes across the key that sticks up a little like a bump.

The two bumps are there to help people position their hands on the keyboard in the correct places without having to look down. All you have to do is feel around for those two bumps and your right and left hands will be in the right spots. I'm sure you already know this, but the correct way is to place your left index finger on the F key and your right index finger on the J key. You then just line up the rest of your fingers on the other keys to begin typing.

So, the little bumps are there just to make sure your hands are in the correct position for the ultimate typing experience! And if you think about it, they can help you to start typing without looking down as well. Just feel around for the right spots and before you know it, you won't have to look at your keyboard at all when you type. All it takes is a little practice. Why do you need to look at the keys anyway?

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