An Evaluation of Mobile Phone Text Input Methods

Butts, L. and Cockburn, A.

    The rapid growth of Short Message Service (SMS) text messaging is generating substantial commercial and research interest in fast and efficient text input methods for mobile devices. This paper presents an empirical study that compares three mobile phone text input techniques. The methods are 'multi-press input with timeout', 'multi-press input with a next button', and 'two-key'. The study shows that there is a significant speed difference, in words per minute (wpm), between the methods. The multi-press with next method provided the most rapid text input at 7.2 wpm, followed by multi-press with timeout at 6.4 wpm. The two-key method was the slowest at 5.5 wpm. These results are much slower than those predicted by Fitts' Law models reported in prior re- search. Subjective results regarding learnability, errors and efficiency showed no significant difference between the methods.
Cite as: Butts, L. and Cockburn, A. (2002). An Evaluation of Mobile Phone Text Input Methods. In Proc. Third Australasian User Interface Conference (AUIC2002), Melbourne, Australia. CRPIT, 7. Grundy, J. and Calder, P., Eds. ACS. 55-59.
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