Factors for Selecting Input Devices

By Daniel Foster

Input devices are peripherals from which computers receive data. Examples include keyboards, mice, scanners and webcams. These accessories extend the functionality of a computer and boost productivity, but only if you select the right ones. Understand the factors for selecting input devices to make the most of your next computer accessory purchase.

Features

There's no point in buying an input device that does nothing. Make sure you select one that fits your needs and lifestyle. Carpal tunnel-suffers might want to select a keyboard that has good wrist support, for example. Some notebook users buy travel-size mice for computing on-the-go. Graphic designers often use highly sensitive tablets that accept detailed input from a stylus.

Compatibility

A device that fits your needs, but doesn't work with your computer is useless. Check the system requirements of the input devices to ensure they work with your computer. Some peripherals only work in Windows or Mac OS X, for example. Others might require certain software to fully function.Also consider how well the device will interact with your entire computer setup. A large keyboard might give you more room for typing, but it must leave enough room for the mouse. A new input device might also interfere with another device on your computer. Review this before purchase.

Cost

The most prohibitive factor in selecting input devices is cost. A certain device might meet your needs and work with your existing computer setup, but not if you can't justify the cost. Make sure you or your organization can afford the input device. If the product is very expensive, consider alternatives that provide similar functionality.