this solves 90% of my ergo issues/pinkie pain, and not just for emacs use.
(In other universes, some users will also do this trick so they can hit ESC with a Ctrl-[ chord that is available from the home row. But I never understood why they were reaching for ESC in the first place.)
Yet this article appears not to know about or care about this overwhelmingly pervasive convention that fixes all the problems it's talking about?! Skip.
I think it would be useful for Emacs to swap cmd and ctrl.
(setq mac-command-modifier 'control)
With CTRL mapped to directly left of the left pinky (the CAPS LOCK position on most keyboards), then an ESC via CTRL-[ is just a slight pinky movement on both hands.
Thus spoke Erik Naggum, who, IIRC, didn't always agree otherwise with Xah Lee back in the glory days of comp.emacs.
Then I found out how to turn CAPS LOCK into an additional Ctrl, and ever since it has been one of the first things I do on a new computer. I only ever used CAPS LOCK by accident, anyway, so it's a double win.
For example, you can add this to your ~/.emacs:
(global-set-key [f8] 'view-mode)
With a Dvorak keyboard, navigation is also more convenient, since for example C-n and C-p are at the respective locations of C-l and C-r on US keyboards, so that both hands are regularly used and not used.
Other than that, I recommend to also use search for navigation, and to occasionally read and re-read the first chapters of the Emacs manual: There are many useful commands that can help a lot if you know them and their prefix arguments.
;; (key-chord-define-global "jj" #'avy-goto-word-or-subword-1)
(key-chord-define-global "vv" #'view-mode)
:custom (key-chord-one-key-delay 0.3))
A primary modifier right beside the space bar is incredible because the thumb is the strongest digit, whereas the pinky is the weakest (on the hands)―and shares a tendon with the ring finger.
It's doubly great with a big bottom row like on MS Natural keyboards: you just mash these big blobs which are right under your thumbs, instead of aiming for minuscule keys in the corners with your most pathetic fingers.
Macs have Cmd as the primary modifier, located on both sides right beside the space bar. Apps use Cmd for shortcuts―while Alt and Win keys aren't free to remap for most programs. So Mac users had this experience for decades now, and in the meantime afaik Windows and Linux haven't even attempted to correct the mistake.
(A bit ironic how MS keyboards' layout works best on a Mac.)
The main advantage of this over rebinding Caps Lock: it keeps the meta keys symmetrical, so you don't have to faff about rebinding Enter, or wonder about how you're going to solve the issue of hitting Ctrl with your right hand.
(Lee recommends not doing this, citing unspecified issues with the little finger. For whatever it's worth, probably not much in the face of that kind of argument, I've been doing this for about ten years now and haven't noticed any problems. I'm afraid you're just going to have to make your own decision here.)
I often use my thumb to press Ctrl+E/D to scroll up/down in vim.
Last year I was working on optical finger tracking to get 3D positions and entire keyboard as a multitouch surface. It's not clear I want to continue banging on it this year. So I'm fishing for an "oh, that's a neat idea... ok, yes, I do want that" motivating instance.
It is one of those things like smoking! You always hear it is bad for you and you always think it only happens to others and never happens to you.
That is my advice to everyone now. Either don't do touch typing, or you should use a better keyboard layout and VIM keybinding to avoid stretching too much.