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hearkat's avatar

Can you please give me recommendations for a Win 7 compatible trackpad, and/or advice on how to request alternate devices from the workplace because of a medical condition?

Asked by hearkat (21871 points ) April 5th, 2014

My laptop at work is way below specs for some new equipment we’ll be getting. I have requested a desktop to replace it, but I will miss having a trackpad, because they are easier on my hands which can get tendonitis and ultimately carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease.

Are there trackpads for Win 7 that will support gestures (ideally, customizable ones) and will cooperate within a Citrix environment (where printer compatibility is an issue, so I worry that less common input devices might also be problematic).

I also have not dealt with requesting special equipment from the job because of a medical condition, as I am just in the earlier stages. Does anyone have experience with this, that can give me advice about the laws, such as the American’s with Disabilities Act and others that might support my request for an adaptive device? I live in New Jersey, if there are variations among State regulations.

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9 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

If I were you I would discuss this with the IT people at the company first, rather than try to bring them a one-off solution that may put you at odds with them, or which may involve a lengthy requisition-approval-purchase process. If it’s a large company, such as the one I work for, then they’ve probably already heard it all before and will have equipment already available or on their “recommended and approved” list that they can provide at short notice.

What you’re requesting does not seem at all untoward or unreasonable; in fact, it seems to me that it should be pretty commonplace. And if it’s not commonplace where you work now, it probably soon will be. (The place where I work has a disproportionately older crowd of engineers and others who have been working not only “in the industry” for decades, but in many cases have been with the same company for 30 – 40 years or more. If I hadn’t left for ten years, I’d be coming up on a 35-year anniversary, myself, and I’m not quite an old-timer yet.)

As workforces age and companies try to retain experienced and willing workers, they pay more and more attention to such ergonomic, “enabling” and such issues. (More than once I’ve had HR attempt to change my desk chair to a more expensive and ergonomic one, but they back off when I convince them that I like the one that I have, and assure them that I have no complaints about it.)

I’m sure that if you present the issue in a non-confrontational way to HR or IT or even in-house medical staff (the route that we can take), then you won’t even have to convince anyone that “productivity would be higher” or that you would miss less work if you have equipment that suits your particular ergonomic / usability issues.

If not, then you’ll have this thread to come back to.

hearkat's avatar

@CWOTUS – I work for a medical group, so I don’t anticipate too much flack on the granting of the request; but as the practice has grown they have become more nitpicky where expenses are concerned. I just wanted to be prepared and also to find out whether there are any formalities required to document when a request is accessibility related, or even if there might be HR-related headaches that result from doing so.

I do want to include in my request a list of which devices (if any) have customizable gestures that work with Windows 7, and hopefully in Citrix. Our IT is outsourced to someone who is thousands of miles away (don’t ask me why), and as someone who is fairly tech-savvy and friends with a number of very tech-savvy people here and elsewhere, I haven’t been too impressed with them. I have no idea of the extent of their knowledge of such devices and whether they would already know what might be compatible, if only after watching them go through the printer problems, where they appeared to be learning through trial-and-error (although some tech-savvy folks have confirmed that Citrix is notorious for printer hassles). Based on my previous experiences, I feel it is better for me to be prepared.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Have a look at the Logitech T650.

jerv's avatar

The Apple Magic Trackpad actually can already use basic functions under Windows, and there are drivers out there to allow full Windows support. They’re also natively supported by Ubuntu, though I doubt that matters to you. While I’m not normally a fan of fruit-based computing, but I think for your needs, an oversized trackpad would be a good thing.

Such a request definitely falls under “reasonable accommodation”; it’s not like you’re asking for a multi-million-dollar remodeling of the building. I’ve made similar requests of my employers that cost them <$20 to accommodate my needs, and they consider it a minor price to pay to avoid a worker’s comp RSI case.

hearkat's avatar

@Lightlyseared – Thanks – is it a device you have any personal experience with? I’m off to look at the Logitech models now – a FB friend recommended them, as well.

@jerv – I do like the size and simplicity of the Apple Trackpads; are the drivers licensed through Apple or Microsoft? If they’re through third-party developers, I’m unsure how flexible they’ll be. Since it is a medical practice, the system has to be stable and secure.

hearkat's avatar

Hmmm… apparently Logitech only has the one model – which is wireless; do most tower CPUs come with Bluetooth? The one they got for the other office last spring didn’t have it. With that they’d have to buy the mouse AND the BT dongle. My search continues.

jerv's avatar

Well, both yes and no would both be incorrect. Read how to get an Apple trackpad to work with Windows and let me know. Like many things, I think the correct answer is “Mu”, as you’re using a licensed driver by non-standard means.

However, it’s also Bluetooth, which is something most desktops lack. Looks like you’ll need a dongle anyways, but last I checked, those were fairly inexpensive. I saw one on Amazon for $1.54

Lightlyseared's avatar

The t650 comes with a wireless dongle.

hearkat's avatar

Oh! I didn’t look at the details closely enough to see that it comes with the dongle. Excellent! Thanks again, @Lightlyseared!

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