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

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsPaper

Published

Publication date2012
Host publicationProceedings of the 2012 ACM annual conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '12)
Place of publicationNew York
PublisherACM
Pages2659-2668
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-1015-4
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

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. The Android keyboard outperforms the control condition but the constructed shift function further improves the performance by 2.2% and decreases the error rate by 9.1%. We argue that the shift function can improve existing keyboards at no costs.