Personalized touchscreens to reduce errors

Researchers designed personalized touchscreens to reduce typing errors and increase typing speed.
Written by Amy Kraft, Weekend Editor on

Let’s be honest: we all make errors when typing on touchscreens. And the rate of mistakes increases when we are typing and walking.

To fix that, Leah Findlater from the University of Maryland in College Park and Jacob Wobbrock from the University of Washington in Seattle invented WalkType, a software program that collects data on a person’s typing habits and uses it to alter keys on the keyboard for increased accuracy.

One test with the software focused on people walking and typing. Sixteen people typed on an iPhone while walking. Each person's habits were collected by the phone's accelerometer, which logged and compared typing errors to uncover the source of some mistakes.

One common error while walking and typing showed that when a person's foot hits the ground, their hand moves towards the center of the keyboard.

Then the data was used to alter the keys to better suit the individual. For example, the space bar was enlarged to help people strike it more accurately or some keys were lowered.

New Scientist reports:

"Tests showed that the software...improved typing speed by 13 per cent compared with a regular iPhone keyboard. Error rates fell from 10 per cent to 6 per cent."

The research was presented at the Conference in Human Factors in Computing Systems, last May in Austin, Texas.

Touchscreens learn your habits to help you type faster  [New Scientist]

Photo via flickr/IntelFreePress

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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