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A Minimal Device-Independent Text Input Method Poika Isokoski

Abstract:

Recently the need to write text on paper with a pen has diminished. One reason for this development is the emergence of various portable computing and communications devices. Each device typically has its own method for text input. Some rely on miniature keyboards while others are used with a stylus. This means that a person owning several of these gadgets needs to learn many writing methods. In an attempt to alleviate the user's learning burden we have constructed a minimal device-independent text input method which can be used with a variety of input devices. In our experiment with five volunteers we found the method to be rather slow at 7.6 words per minute after five hours of practice. A handheld touchpad was used for the practice period. After the practice we measured the writing speed and error rate for mouse, trackball, joystick and keyboard without device specific training. We found that the writing speed is only slightly slower with unpracticed devices. The error rate varied more between the devices. Keyboard and joystick had the best error rates of roughly 3%. Trackball was the worst with 7% of characters requiring corrections.



 
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