Friday, June 29, 2012

Spotted: crowd sourced study of typing on soft keyboards

Visual feedback reduces error, but slows speeds. 

Observational and experimental investigation of typing behaviour using virtual keyboards for mobile devices

Niels Henze, Enrico Rukzio, Susanne Boll

With the rise of current smartphones, virtual keyboards for touchscreens became the dominant mobile text entry technique. We developed a typing game that records how users touch on the standard Android keyboard to investigate users' typing behaviour. 47,770,625 keystrokes from 72,945 installations have been collected by publishing the game. By visualizing the touch distribution we identified a systematic skew and derived a function that compensates this skew by shifting touch events. By updating the game we conduct an experiment that investigates the effect of shifting touch events, changing the keys' labels, and visualizing the touched position. Results based on 6,603,659 keystrokes and 13,013 installations show that visualizing the touched positions using a simple dot decreases the error rate of the Android keyboard by 18.3% but also decreases the speed by 5.2% with no positive effect on learnability.

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