Innovation and evaluation of miniature QWERTY keyboards

  • 蕭 涵綺

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


  Inappropriate operating posture and repeatedly hitting the keys when using a traditional standard QWERTY keyboard can harm the human body However using small mobile devices such as smartphones to input data is now increasingly common and various studies have been carried out on the use of small keyboards This thesis explores the use of a small keyboard as an interface for long duration inputting tasks from two aspects: posture and speed It proposes a type of small keyboard that is suitable for mobile data inputting and long-term typing at a fast speed as well as evaluates the performance of this small keyboard when it is used for long-term inputting tasks   At the start of this study it was found that users liked to hold the small input device with both of their hands and use their thumbs to press keys Most of them used specific fingers to support the device so as to maintain its stability The keys on this input device are small and the spaces between them are narrow resulting in overuse of specific digits to press the keys Since small devices are becoming more popular it is important to consider changing the design pattern of the keys and the operating methods that users apply to input data in order to avoid overburdening users on a physiological level More specifically the design of the keys should prevent users from overusing their thumbs To achieve this a designer can change the input method by arranging the keys in a way that discourages users from pressing the keys with only their thumbs IN addition by changing the appearance of a handheld mobile device stability can be achieved when pressing the keys   This study thus first revised the arrangement and layout of the keys on a QWERTY keyboard to develop the designs of four miniature keyboards We recruited 16 faster typists and 16 slower ones asking them to use the four miniature keyboards called the linear separated linear edge and corner keyboards We evaluated the related typing speed accuracy comfort likability and learnability when they used the four keyboards The results showed that the separated linear keyboard achieved the best outcomes in terms of speed highest level of comfort and likability among users   Furthermore most keyboards on smartphones are set on the front of the device with both physical and virtual keyboards occupying much of the available space However the use of a small keyboard often leads to reduced performance This study thus suggests the use of a keyboard set on the back of the smartphone and applies special keycaps to increase screen space and improve typing speed Previous observations indicated that users like to hold mobile equipment with both of their hands and support it with some of their fingers We integrated these characteristics to revise the prototypes of the miniature keyboards Since the rectangular keycaps that control three characters achieved the best performance we applied them to a smartphone We developed two smartphone keyboards suitable for long duration typing with a hidden keyboard that is on the back of the devices There were two designs based on the ways in which they are operated by the fingers a “push & lever keyboard” and “tight keyboard ” Ten participants were then recruited to work with these designs The typing speeds and user satisfaction were assessed with regard to the two proposed hidden keyboards and to two commercially-available keyboards The initial typing speeds with the rear smartphone keyboards were slower than those with the commercially-available smartphone keyboards However after 1 5 hours of practice the users had better performance with the hidden keyboards The hidden smartphone keyboards are thus more suitable than the present smartphone keyboards with regard to carrying out long duration typing tasks It is anticipated that the findings of this work can aid in the design of better keyboards on smartphones and other small devices
Date of Award2014 Jan 17
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorFong-Gong Wu (Supervisor)

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