Text in on smarter phones

May 22, 2013

Alternative input methods for smart phones, such as Swype and SwiftKey, offer substantial benefits to users and are comparable with common typing speeds found on computer keyboards, according to a report published by researchers at Loughborough University. Writing in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Design Research, Tom Page, a lecturer in electronic product design, has assessed a number of different text input technologies available to smart phone users.

Page reports how interaction design has become central to the development of small touch screen devices, particularly since the launch of the in 2007. Moreover, many users now have a smart phone mindset and treat their device in much the same way previous users worked with a laptop but with much greater portability. As such, rapid text input methods has become essential for making as efficient as they once were with typing on a laptop keyboard.

"In essence, smart phone interfaces today have been designed in completely different ways as users are starting or seeking to replace laptops and computers with small screen highly portable devices," Page says, Indeed, more people are becoming more proficient at creating, engaging, communicating and interacting via the smart phone screen.

There are various text input methods on , including adaptation of the QWERTY layout that has been familiar to typists since the 19th century. Other more ergonomic soft keyboard layouts such as DVORAK and ABCDE apparently improve typing comfort and speed, but many users and developers believes that these ought to be consigned to history in this era of small screens and . Other text input methods such as: OPTI, 8pen, Swiftkey, Swype, Keypurr and thick buttons exist and are gently nudging QWERTY and its derivatives off-screen and giving users much faster and more accurate text input methods.

"Fundamentally, the success or failure of any new or text input method such as soft keyboards is determined by its usability," says Page. "The ergonomic aspects of soft keyboard typing on a smart phone differ greatly from their physical counterpart," he adds. This is why alternatives more suited to the mall screen than QWERTY or ABCDE are needed. Page laments the fact that smart phones have been rapidly advancing technologically over the last few years but their approach to text input has lagged behind. Even the apps that claim to accelerate input and sidestep the traditional keyboard often rely on user familiarity with QWERTY nevertheless.

There is much research and development yet to be done with touch screens themselves and the text and other input technologies need to make smart phones even more ubiquitous and useful.

Explore further: Bose sues Beats over headphone patents

More information: "Usability of text input interfaces in smartphones" in J. Design Research, 2013, 11, 39-56

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Georgia Tech develops braille-like texting app (w/ video)

Feb 17, 2012

Imagine if smartphone and tablet users could text a note under the table during a meeting without anyone being the wiser. Mobile gadget users might also be enabled to text while walking, watching TV or socializing ...

Writing without keyboard: Handwriting recognition on the wrist

Feb 21, 2013

Typing text messages on the mobile phone via the tiny soft keyboard is very cumbersome. How about simply writing it into the air! This idea drove the development of "airwriting" made by computer scientists of Karlsruhe Institute ...

Review: BlackBerry Q10, the keyboard strikes back

Apr 24, 2013

The BlackBerry has finally caught up to the world of touch-screen smartphones. It took time—six years, from the launch of the first iPhone—and it may be too late to save the company that makes it. But ...

Recommended for you

Scalping can raise ticket prices

11 hours ago

Scalping gets a bad rap. For years, artists and concert promoters have stigmatized ticket resale as a practice that unfairly hurts their own sales and forces fans to pay exorbitant prices for tickets to sold-out concerts. ...

User comments : 0