The Limits of Expert Text Entry Speed on Mobile Keyboards with Autocorrect

Improving mobile keyboard typing speed increases in value as more tasks move to a mobile setting. Autocorrect is a powerful way to reduce the time it takes to manually fix typing errors, which results in typing speed increase. However, recent user studies of autocorrect uncovered an unexplored side-effect: participants’ aversion to typing errors despite autocorrect. We present the first computational model of typing on keyboards with autocorrect, which enables precise study of expert typists’ aversion to typing errors on such keyboards. Unlike empirical typing studies that last days, our model evaluates the effects of typists’ aversion to typing errors for any autocorrect accuracy in seconds. We show that typists’ aversion to typing errors adds a self-imposed limit on upper bound typing speeds, which decreases the value of highly accurate autocorrect. Our findings motivate future designs of keyboards with autocorrect that reduce typists’ aversion to typing errors to increase typing speeds.

The Limits of Expert Text Entry Speed on Mobile Keyboards with Autocorrect Nikola Banovic, Ticha Sethapakdi, Yasasvi Hari, Anind K. Dey, Jennifer Mankoff. Mobile HCI 2019.

A picture of a samsung phone. The screen says: Block 2. Trial 6 of 10. this camera takes nice photographs. The user has begun typing with errors: "this camera tankes l" Error correction offers 'tankes' 'tankers' and 'takes' and a soft keyboard is shown before that.

An example mobile device with a soft keyboard: A) text entry area, which in our study contained study progress, the current phrase to transcribe, and an area for transcribed characters, B) automatically suggested words, and C) a miniQWERTY soft keyboard with autocorrect.

A bar plat showing typing speed (WPM, y axis) against acuracy (0 to 1). The bars start at 32 WPM (for 0 accuracy) and go up to approx 32 (for accuracy of 1).
Our model estimated expected mean typing speeds (lines) for different levels of typing error rate aversion (e) compared to mean empirical typing speed with automatic correction and suggestion (bar plot) in WPM across Accuracy. Error bars represent 95% confidence intervals.
4 bar plats showing error rate in uncorrected, corrected, autocorrected, and manual corrected conditions. Error rates for uncorrected are (approximately) 0 to 0.05 as accuracy increases; error rates for corrected are .10 to .005 for corrected condition as accuracy goes from 0 to 1. Error rates are  0 to about .1 for uncorrected as accuracy goes from 0 to 1. Error rates are variable but all below 0.05 for manual as accuracy goes from 0 to 1
Median empirical error rates across Accuracy in session 3 with automated correction and suggestion. Error bars represent minimum and maximum error rate values, and dots represent outliers

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