Are you familiar with keyboard skins? These cover your keyboard with a thin skin made from flexible silicone to help protect the keyboard as you use it. A protector won’t make your keyboard completely waterproof but they’ll help protect it from spilled drinks, drool, crumbs, pet hair, etc.
Keyboard skins are sometimes translucent but may be coloured or even printed with attractive designs to personalise your keyboard similarly to how iPhone cases personalise your device.
Skins are also usually overprinted with keyboard layouts, including commonly used layouts like QWERTY and less common ones such as Dvorak, as well as non-English languages in some cases. Keyboard skins are also available with large print or braille letters to help the visually impaired. Specialty keyboard skins may be printed with keyboard shortcuts, bright colours to assist new typists, and other designs.
Translucent Keyboard Protectors
Translucent or clear keyboard protectors are almost invisible once installed and let you clearly see the printing from the keyboard underneath.
iSkin ProTouch Classic fits a variety of MacBooks as well as Apple wired and wireless keyboards.
Moshi ClearGuard Keyboard Protectors fit MacBooks and wired and wireless Apple keyboards.
LogicSkin Crystal Line keyboard protectors also fit MacBooks and wired and wireless Apple keyboards.
There really are a large range of just “nice” looking keyboard skins – those with background colours and designs – so I’ll focus here on skins which I feel have some direct relevance to accessibility.
Emergent Typers Keyboard Skins
These brightly coloured keyboard skins generally print letters in one colour, numbers in another, and other keys in a separate colour to help people locate the letters they want. They may also print the keys for the left hand in one colour and right hand in a separate colour or highlight ‘home’ keys in some way to assist beginner touchtypers.
MarBlue Kids’ Learning Keyboard Protector fits the MacBook Pro and MacBook Retina with a brightly coloured skin aimed at those learning to type.
iSkin ProTouch Kids Assist keyboard covers also fit MacBook keyboards and Apple’s USB and bluetooth keyboards, though only models without the number pad.
Alternative Keyboard Layout Skins
For those using non-QWERTY layouts, these are some of the skins available:
KB Covers Colemak keyboard cover for MacBook and Apple wireless keyboard users.
ZCover keyboard skins are available in Dvorak for many models of laptops and keyboards – pick yours to see if it is an option.
KB Covers Dvorak keyboard cover for MacBook and Apple wired and wireless keyboard users.
Large Print Keyboard Skins
LogicKeyboard large print keyboard covers come in several high-visibility colour combinations suitable for use on most Apple keyboards with and without number pads.
KB Covers’ large print keyboard covers come in white on black and black on white and fit the full range of Apple keyboards including the old G5 keyboard.
iSkin ProTouch Visual Assist keyboard covers also fit MacBook keyboards and Apple’s USB and bluetooth keyboards, though only models without the number pad.
Keyboard Skins with Keyboard Shortcuts
KB Covers OS X Shortcuts Keyboard Cover also offers Mac shortcuts, and they also have keyboard skins for a range of other OS X applications.
Do you use a keyboard protector on your keyboard? I can’t find one that fits the Kinesis Advantage keyboard I use, so I don’t, but I probably would if it were an option.