This summer Core77 published some research on netbook usability factors. The study focused on a variety of factors including user interfaces for non-Windows computers, various use scenarios, and ergonomics.

That last part caught my attention, because the researchers found that among the sample group, the most comfortable position for using a clamshell-style laptop wasn’t while sitting at a desk, propping the notebook on your lap, or even while standing. Rather, the position that caused the least pain was lying in bed with the computer propped up on one’s thighs with knees kept up.

It’s worth noting though, that the sample group in this case was a group of 11 to 14 year old children. It’s quite possible that the results don’t hold true for all groups. So I figured I’d launch my own completely unscientific and unreliable study. Here’s how it works. I’m going to ask you a simple question: what do you find to be the most comfortable position for using a laptop, particularly a small one like a 10 inch or smaller netbook? Keep in mind that use involves typing and viewing the display for web browsing, editing documents, watching videos, and maybe even playing games.

Sound off in the comments!

via Gizmodo

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15 replies on “What’s the most comfortable position for you to use a netbook?”

  1. I like to use the netbook while seated at a desk, and sitting on a chair that extends to my upper back and doesn’t have much cushioning or flexing — a conventional desk chair.

  2. I have a lot of admiration for that group doing all the research they have done so far, but I sort of feel that their finding in the end are not quite right. They are 80% there, but now they really need another year of prototyping, re-testing and reevaluation to even come to a proper conclusion.

    Their mock up of a device looks very bulky and odd, so I fail to see what that is the best compromise of design and features.

    Their smart book video about Joseph is cute, but it is showing us what is possible now. What it ‘really’ needing to be shows is how to make those tasks easier, safer/securer and better. How do you make a device secure, useful, and portable enough to have a child have it on their person all day long?

    I’ve found that “Ideas are easy. Execution is everything.” I’d like to see this group’s execution of ideas from what they have learned.

  3. I use it lying on my bed with the netbook on my chest. Its light ebought to do this without pain unlike some other heavy laptops. Its also doesn’t get very hot, so thats also a plus for me. Typing sucks though, and thats when I lean up to type, like what I am doing right now! 😀

  4. Lying on my back with the netbook on my chest. Good for reading but it is not convenient for accessing the keyboard. I live with it.

  5. Spend my days hanging out with Ergonomists who debate / discuss these same questions. Personally, I am most comfortable in position 2 – lying down with notebook on my knees. Applying ergonomic principles, makes sense, reclined position takes pressure off head, neck, shoulders (with proper head support). NASA did studies years ago that found that if human beings were put into zero gravity, the positions their bodies ‘floated’ into were open body angles – 120 degrees bent at the hip and the knees. Further studies showed that when sitting, these same angles also are ‘better’, less stress on lower back. (Even though sitting is not ideal). So….it makes sense that position 2 would be most comfortable. This position provides true relief on key body areas; neck, back, shoulders etc. One caveat, the body must be supported properly at the head, behind the knees etc. Looking forward to your ‘findings’

  6. I spend 12+ hours a day on the position detailed by the focus group and I fully agree, that’s the easiest way to deal with that many hours. Since I live overseas I do everything from regular work to TV watching in that position and that is with a 17″ laptop.

  7. None. Computer use is extremely uncomfortable. And I do it for 6 hours every day.

    So I really hope you will summarize your results in a post. I would love to be wrong on this one. I think publication would serve us well.

  8. the 11-14 year olds got it down. i’m looking for a little table, like the ones for bed-n-breakfast so i don’t have to worry about suddenly changing position and my netbook flopping over.

  9. I find myself a grown 40 yr old 200 lb man and my favorite position is number 2 in the bed with it propped up on my knees. I also sit at the desk with it as well.

  10. For both myself and my wife, it’s in bed, propped up on angled belkin heat dispensing pillows we bought back when were were full laptop users. Although I spend a lot of time typing on a tiny desk taking notes.

  11. I have to say sitting cross-legged on my bed might be my choice. Although I might say on the bed sitting up with a lap desk might be more accurate.

    People should catch the video on the linked page because it is slightly humorous in that extremely up-beat way all future demos are about how greta life will be soon. Why don’t they talk about Joseph copying other people’s homework or downloading naughty pictures? Also, Joseph uses his netbook as an alarm clock! The future is wonderful!

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