Touchscreens learn your habits to help you type faster

touch_screen_typing

TYPING on a touchscreen is a slow and error-strewn business. Keyboards that adjust to individual typing styles could ease the frustration, or reduce the mistakes you make as you walk and type.

Lack of physical feedback makes touchscreen keyboards difficult to use. All parts of the screen feel the same, so it is easy to miss a key. But touchscreens have an advantage over conventional keyboards – the layout can be adapted to suit different typing styles.

Leah Findlater at the University of Maryland in College Park and Jacob Wobbrock at the University of Washington in Seattle asked 12 people to type a series of phrases on a screen-based keyboard that logged the position of each tap. This data highlighted quirks in style that can lead to errors. For example, a user might hit the bottom of a key rather than the centre, making it easy to strike the key below by mistake.

Once the system had identified these quirks it adjusted the layout of the keyboard in a bid to reduce errors. If a user regularly hit the bottom of a key, its position might be lowered. Or the space bar might be enlarged to make it easier to strike with either thumb. Personalizing keyboards had a significant impact. Users typed 15 per cent faster after three sessions with the adjusted keyboards, however there was no change in accuracy.

A similar approach can help reduce the errors that crop up when typing and walking. In a second experiment, in conjunction with Wobbrock’s colleague Mayank Goel, the team asked 16 people to type on an iPhone whilst walking. Readings from the phone’s accelerometer were logged and compared to typing errors, which uncovered the source of some mistakes. When a person’s foot strikes the ground, for example, their taps tend to shift towards the centre of the keyboard.

The team used that data to design an iPhone keyboard that tracks accelerometer data and tap position and corrects those taps it thinks were made in error. Tests showed that the software, known as WalkType, improved typing speed by 13 per cent compared with a regular iPhone keyboard. Error rates fell from 10 per cent to 6 per cent. Both ideas were presented at the Conference in Human Factors in Computing Systems, held last month in Austin, Texas.

Blowfish12@2012 blowfish12.tk Author: Sudharsun. P. R.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s