An Empirical Study of Typing Rates on mini-QWERTY Keyboards

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  • Authors: Edward Clarkson, James Clawson, Kent Lyons, and [Thad Starner]
  • College of Computing and GVU Center
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • 801 Atlantic Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332-0280
  • {edcclark, jamer, kent, thad}

Abstract: The Twiddler is a one-handed chording mobile keyboard that employs a 3x4 button layout, similar to that of a standard mobile telephone. Despite its seeming applicability to the mobile market and use by the wearable computing community, there has been very little data on the Twiddler's performance and learnability. In our longitudinal study comparing novice users' learning rates on the Twiddler versus multi-tap, we found that multi-tap users' maximum speed averaged 20wpm while Twiddler users averaged 47wpm. One user averaged 67wpm. We analyze the effects of learning on various aspects of chording and provide evidence that lack of visual feedback does not hinder expert typing speed. Such "blind" typing" situations are common during face-to-face conversations, classroom lectures, or business meetings. We examine the potential use of multi-character chords (e.g. pressing the g and h keys for to produce "ing ") to increase text entry speed (Thad has bursted up to 130wpm on certain phrases while testing the experimental software). Finally, we explore improving novice typing rates on the Twiddler through use of a chording tutorial and create a prototype design of a mobile phone that could use the Twiddler's typing method.

Full PDF: An Empirical Study Of Typing Rates On Mini-QWERTY Keyboards