Document Type



Media is loading

Publication Date



thumb typing keyboard, keyboard, QWERTY


The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of alternative key layouts for thumb-typing on a small phone. The use of smartphones in modern technology has resulted in greater usage of the keyboard. Current evidence suggests that the current QWERTY keyboard is not the most efficient keyboard layout for small phones or tablets (Hempstalk, 2006). In fact, the QWERTY keyboard was developed to fit the efficiency needs of the typewriter and is therefore not the best suited layout for the ergonomic parameters of the smartphone. Our study aims at establishing a better layout, specifically designed for the touchscreen and will be complied into two phases. The research will first consist of collecting touchscreen data to establish the adequate range satisfying a comfortable finger reach, as applied to smartphones typing. Additionally, the input frequency of each keyboard key will be recorded. This phase of the research plan is expected to be completed in time for presentation of the data at the IdeaFest conference in April. The second phase involves testing various keyboard prototypes with regard to variable screen dimensions and tactile properties (i.e. single-thumb typing, dual-thumb typing). The data collection will proceed directly through the participants own cell phones, this step will be assisted by a hired freelance computer scientist (for completing the network application). We predict that replacing the QWERTY keyboard with a better layout will provide more efficacy, once the respondent has adapted to the new layout.

First Advisor

Douglas Peterson

Research Area

Human Factors