Thumbthing to shout about

Typing on touch screen devices such as iPhones is to be made significantly quicker thanks to a new keyboard design. Developed in part by members of the St Andrews Computer […]


Typing on touch screen devices such as iPhones is to be made significantly quicker thanks to a new keyboard design.

Developed in part by members of the St Andrews Computer Science School, the new ‘KALQ’ keyboard is set to rival the classic ‘QWERTY’ model.

Research showed that although the traditional keyboard makes for quick typing on laptops, it is comparatively slow for thumb typing on touch screens. By completely reconfiguring the key positions, the research team made some highly significant findings; the new keypad allowed users to type 37 words a minute, a massive 17 word increase on QUERTY and the highest ever reported entry rate for two-thumb typing on touchscreen devices.

The University’s specialist Human Computer Interaction Lecturer, Dr Per Ola Kristensson, said:  ‘We believe KALQ provides a large enough performance improvement to incentivise users to switch and benefit from faster and more comfortable typing.’

The research was part of a joint venture with the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and Montana Tech and will be presented at the CHI 2013 conference in Paris on May 1st.

The good news for all you rapid-fire typers is that KALQ will be available as a free app on Android-based smartphones. That really does take thumb beating.