Usability study of text entry interfaces for wireless personal organizers and communicators.

I. Guyon, Y. Le Cun, and C. Warwick.
In Interfaces to real and virtual worlds, Montpellier.

We performed comparative tests of several keyboards and handwriting recognizers to determine their usability as text entry interfaces. For very small devices (e.g. cellular phones), the keyboard is impractical: alternative user interfaces need to be invented, but handwriting recognition is marginally usable. For medium size devices (e.g. palmtop personal organizers), small ``hardware'' or ``software'' keyboards are both most efficient and preferred by users. Ease of correction was found to be at least as important as recognition accuracy. Users are biased in favor of handwriting, even if it is less efficient, particularly when the size of the keyboard is so small that typing is frustrating. The handwriting recognition system designed in our department beats other recognizers.

Keywords: pen computers, personal organizers, cellular phones, wireless communicators, personal communicators, PDA, palmtop computers, handwriting recognition.

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