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Text entry using soft keyboards

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Text entry rates are explored for several variations of soft keyboards. We present a model to predict novice and expert entry rates and present an empirical test with 24 subjects. Six keyboards were examined: the Qwerty, ABC, Dvorak, Fitaly, JustType, and telephone. At 8-10 wpm, novice predictions are low for all layouts because the dominant factor is the visual scan time, rather than the movement time. Expert predictions are in the range of 22-56 wpm, although these were not tested empirically. In a quick, novice test with a representative phrase of text, subjects achieved rates of 20.2 wpm (Qwerty), 10.7 wpm (ABC), 8.5 wpm (Dvorak), 8.0 wpm (Fitaly), 7.0 wpm (JustType), and 8.0 wpm (telephone). The Qwerty rate of 20.2 wpm is consistent with observations in other studies. The relatively high rate for Qwerty suggests that there is skill transfer from users' familiarity with desktop computers to the stylus tapping task.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1999-07-01

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