Researchers at St Andrews, the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Germany and Montana Tech in the US created a keyboard layout, said to be great for the touchscreen devices like smartphones and tablets. The new keyboard, researchers claimed, can make thumb-typing faster and easier.
Dr Per Ola Kristensson of the St Andrews University explained that the typical QWERTY keyboard trapped its users in suboptimal text entry interfaces. New design of the keyboard is called KALQ, in order of its keys on one line.
The creators of this keyboard made use of the computational optimisation techniques in order to identify the best performance. The virtual keyboard was created in alliance. This keyboard would be accessible to the users free of cost for the Android-based devices.
The research team explained that two-thumb typing becomes very different ergonomically in comparison to the typing on physical QWERTY keyboards. QWERTY keyboards in turn were developed in late 19th century by the typewriters.
The researchers claimed that any normal user making use of the QWERTY keyboard on any touchscreen device could type just 20 words per minute, which is way too low than the normal physical keyboards available with the computers.
Researchers explained that a process by which optimization of a keyboard for two thumbs could be done, was by minimizing the long typing sequences which involved the use of single thumb only.
It was additionally imperative that the letter keys which were used frequently should be placed alongside in order to reduce the typing time. Optimal layout involved reducing the moving time of thumbs as well as enabling the typing on alternating sides of touchscreen device.
In the new keyboard, all vowels were placed in area which was assigned to right thumb, while the left thumb had more keys. With error-correction algorithm, the users who were trained could reach 37 words in a minute.
KALQ provided better performance to users. The new keyword work of the researchers will now be presented at CHI 2013 conference (the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems) in Paris on 1 May 2013.