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iPhone Keyboard Leads to Typso 394

jfruhlinger writes "One of the selling points of the iPhone was its revolutionary touch-screen full keyboard. But a study has shown that text messages sent from iPhones contain significantly more typso than messages from phones with other kinds of keyboards — and aren't entered any faster."
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iPhone Keyboard Leads to Typso

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  • Typso (Score:5, Funny)

    by Echolima ( 1130147 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @11:41AM (#21349587) Homepage
    Did you use the keyboard to poast tihs?
  • by mrjb ( 547783 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @11:45AM (#21349631)
    Obligatory. []
  • by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @11:46AM (#21349645) Homepage
    hu kars so lng as u cn reed it?

    Seriously, I've been seeing typing like this appear in blogs recently. Apparently, a certain cellphone-enabled generation is learning that this type of spelling is acceptable. It is not any one cellphone's fault, and it's not the interface's fault either. Guess who is responsible for teaching our children how to spell?
    • by mrjb ( 547783 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @11:48AM (#21349675)
      George W. Bush?
    • by ByOhTek ( 1181381 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @11:49AM (#21349703) Journal
      Sadly, it happened long before text on cell phones was common.

      It seemed to start growing quickly out of AOL customers starting circa '94-'95, and sadly hasn't slowed down.
      • by smallfries ( 601545 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:02PM (#21349887) Homepage
        Those of us on the right side of the pond would say it happened when our former colonies broke away and has been getting worse ever since. Depends on how you colour it I guess
        • by ByOhTek ( 1181381 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:07PM (#21349971) Journal
          There's a difference between accent/dialect and being a lazy bastard.

          -or and -our have quite different pronunciations, and the way we pronounce color over here, sounds nothing like colour. It has nothing to do with being lazy. This difference is more like cockney (sp?) vs. standard British English.
          • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:16PM (#21350087)
            BUT, it must be noted that this does show that language changes. Color is currently an accepted (and indeed, the normal) spelling of that work in the US, but once upon a time, it would have been a blatantly wrong misspelling. Enough people used it though, and it was integrated.

            Seriously, I'd wager that within 150 years elite will be an archaic spelling of the more common and perfectly correct spelling: leet.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by ByOhTek ( 1181381 )
              I can see that, because I've actually seen it pronounced as 'leet', likewise, to my dismay, "you" will degrade to "u" probably.

              However, the swapping of numbers will probably never become official, nor will the intentional misspellings that really don't result in a pronunciation near what they are supposed to spell.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              I remember reading once that a lot of the changes introduced by American English are from Noah Webster when he created his dictionary. He felt that the United States needed its own language identity so he "Americanized" several spellings.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by zoney_ie ( 740061 )
                The interesting thing is that we now have "Anglicisation" of English here in Europe; i.e. using all possible British English spelling differences even where the American spelling is allowable as a variant in British English. For example, the propagation of the "ise" endings in British English. This spelling is distinguished from American English, which always uses "ize" endings. Traditionally however, many words can be spelt perfectly correctly in British English with "ize" endings, indeed some have traditi
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by tommertron ( 640180 )
              Actually, I believe 'color' was the invention of Daniel Webster and his "American Spelling," along with a lot of the other simplified spellings which were supposed to make spelling and literacy more widespread because they would be easier. Same with theater, laffter, coff, nife, and the other accepted American spellings.

              (Okay, kidding about the last 3)

          • by sqldr ( 838964 )
            and the way we pronounce color over here, sounds nothing like colour.

            I beg to differ. It sounds nothing like color. The first half of the word is pronounced with a completely different vowel sound to the second, which is quite nicely distinguished by the 'u'.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Tokerat ( 150341 )

            There's a difference between accent/dialect and being a lazy bastard.

            -or and -our have quite different pronunciations, and the way we pronounce color over here, sounds nothing like colour. It has nothing to do with being lazy. This difference is more like cockney (sp?) vs. standard British English.

            ...However, I bet lazy has a lot to do with all that extra effort you put into verifying the spelling of "cockney", right?

        • by pokerdad ( 1124121 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @02:07PM (#21352009)

          say it happened when our former colonies broke away and has been getting worse ever since

          Being Canadian I have a fondness for British spellings of words over American (in most cases), but the elitest attitude towards American spelling found in most English speaking countries only shows an ignorance to the history of the English language. During the 18th century and earlier, there was no such thing as a correct spelling, and many words had multiple recognized spellings. Attempts to standardize spellings began only a few decades before the US declared independence, and were not truly complete till well after. Contrary to popular belief American spellings were not dreamed up out of thin air, but were spellings that had been considered correct for centuries. Yes, American spellings were picked precisely because they were not the ones being made standard in Britian, but my point remains that Americans did not invent said spellings and don't deseve all the critism they get for them.

      • by AvitarX ( 172628 )
        I will say that in the mid 90's on IRC and AIM, I used to let typos slip because it was a conversational form of speaking, and slowing it down to correct typos broke the flow of conversation.

        Some programs that alerted you when the other side was typing made this less imperitive.

        I do try to keep things on track in emails and even /. posts and text messages to a point. This post though is an example of what can happen when focussing on speed and not correctness (usually I would at least correct "imperitive"
    • by letxa2000 ( 215841 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @11:52AM (#21349749)

      Apparently you missed the part of the study that says that messages sent from iPhones have more errors than messages sent from other phones. So while there may be more tolerance for bad spelling in our society, that has nothing to do with the observation that iPhones lead to more typos.

      It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that you're going to have more errors with an interface with no tactile response. The Atari 400 was a decent computer back in the early 80's but was generally scoffed at because of its mesh-type keyboard that offered very little tactile response and made touch typing very difficult. The iPhone is the same, but worse, because there is no tactile response.

      I have a hard time believing I ever would get a phone that has no tactile buttons. I have a Treo and while I can dial phone numbers by tapping the screen and can use a virtual keyboard that would require me typing on the touchscreen, I almost always use the tactile keys instead. With the iPhone, that wouldn't be an option.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Alternatively, one could posit the hypothesis that the typical iPhone user can't spell to save their life, being more likely to be young creative types than to be older, wiser and more careful when texting.

        Seriously, though, Apple have always been touted for their interface design, and it seems strange to me that iPhone text entry should be so error prone.

        Perhaps they were so eager to launch the product that this aspect of the interface received limited testing?

      • I haven't found the iPhone's keyboard to be much worse than most physical cell phone keyboards, but that's not as much a function of the iPhone's brilliance as a function of how much most other cell phone keyboard suck. I didn't particularly like the Treo's, but it was amazing compared to most Blackberry keyboards, and particularly the keyboards that put multiple keys on each letter.

        Having said that, though, tactile feedback would certainly be nice. I've heard from a couple people who prefer the iPhone's ke
      • by Vishal ( 29839 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:53PM (#21350659)
        It is not an issue with tactile response. The keyboard of the iPhone with its predictive correction is so good that I actually miss it on my regular desktop keyboard. The problem is that "texting" has its own dictionary that the iPhone (thankfully) doesn't recognize. So "texters" make more errors. Good I say. If the same study was done with email instead of text, you'd probably see dramatically different results. I type faster on my iPhone than I ever did on any of my Treos (have had 3 over the years).

      • by jinxidoru ( 743428 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:54PM (#21350683) Homepage
        I think the study is probably not the greatest study. They are using 20 people in each group. That is a ridiculously small sample group. They also claim that people don't improve with experience. Here is the paragraph:

        Surprisingly, the study found that iPhone texters don't improve with experience. The researchers also asked users in the other groups to send text messages using the iPhone. These novice iPhone users made mistakes at the same rate as people who have owned iPhones for at least one month, the study found.

        With only 20 people in the entire sample group, we are looking at a very small number of people in the novice vs. experienced study.

        I love my iPhone's keyboard. Though I admit that it took time to become accustomed to its use, I now find that I am much faster on the iPhone than on other devices. I think one element of the speed is getting to the point where you accept typos because you know that the iPhone's spell-checker will automatically fix the errors.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that you're going to have more errors with an interface with no tactile response.

        Really? That's not obvious to me at all. Since I'm not a rocket scientist, I'll argue the opposite:

        On a conventional keyboard, the only information that gets to the CPU for each button press is 1) which button was pressed and 2) when it was pressed and 3) for how long it was pressed.

        The iPhone, on the other hand, despite lacking tactile feedback, receives massively more data. At the
      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @06:29PM (#21355765)
        Reading the article, iPhone users, who have had their phones for a month, make more mistakes when typing at the same speed than do users with numeric keypads and hardware keyboards, who have been using them for... ten years?

        I'm shocked.
    • by PJ1216 ( 1063738 ) *
      There's a difference between typos and misspelling things though. i think the study is pointing out that more unintentional typos are appearing in texts.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Red Flayer ( 890720 )
        Good point.

        But it's also important to note two things:

        1. The iPhone hasn't been around that long, it will take time for users to become acclimated
        2. The iPhone may be used by a lot of people that care less about typos in their texts.

        So before one can say this study shows that the UI for the iPhone is flawed, it's important to normalize the results for both 1 and 2.

        Try the study again in 2 years, among people who have been texting on their phone of choice for >2 years who represent similar cross-se
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 )
      Another reason why people use l337 when typing messages is because they can fit more words in to their text. Some contracts only allow you send a certain number of messages, 1 message is about 180 characters.

      See you later (13 letters)
      CU L8R (5 letters)
    • Indeed, it's not necessarily the interface's fault. Jumping to conclusions about cause and reaction is far too common, and the article here does that too. It could very well be the reverse causality: the worst txters are more likely to pick an iPhone. Or other correlations that weren't picked up in the small unscientific study.

      Like demographics. I propose that the study could have been based on university students, and those with an iPhone were more likely to be admitted due to their parents paying, whi
    • Seriously, I've been seeing typing like this appear in blogs recently.
      As if "blogs" have some inherently higher editorial standard than a text message? Get over it! Blogs are just webpages.
    • by caffeinemessiah ( 918089 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:33PM (#21350297) Journal

      hu kars so lng as u cn reed it? Seriously, I've been seeing typing like this appear in blogs recently.

      Time for an Internet meme (source unconfirmed):

      Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a tatol mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

      • by gknoy ( 899301 ) <gknoy AT anasazisystems DOT com> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:13PM (#21351025)
        So, then a more appropriate thing would be something like,

        "Wo creas as lnog sa u cna raed it?"
        hu kars so lng as u cn reed it?

        Interesting. The former is made of typos I might make (and have, though not at once ;)), the latter is spelled phonetically. Strangely (or not?), I have a really hard time reading phonetical renditions of words, as compared to typos.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mykdavies ( 1369 )
        This finding was originally reported by Graham Rawlinson while doing his PhD at Nottingham University in 1976! []

        See also this cached page [] which also has an interesting discussion of the effect in other languages; it works in French and Spanish, but not in Finnish or Hebrew. Interestingly, I could recognise the language of most of the scrambled samples, and even read much of the French and Spanish without difficulty, and I'm by no means fluent in either.
  • by orta ( 786013 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @11:46AM (#21349657) Homepage Journal
    I was quite slow with my iPhone keyboard till I started to be more trusting of what the spell checker will fix automatically, there's no mention of anything like this in the article.
    • I am wondering about that as well. on the ipod touch i tested at bestbuy I was able to easily spell into safari on the first try. The auto correct spelling was very easy to learn.

      I wonder if they are dealing with the iPhone knockoffs that are running windows mobile?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by kextyn ( 961845 )
        I own a Windows Mobile device with a slide out keyboard as well as an on-screen keyboard. I never have any problems with that because the slide out keyboard offers a tactile response and the on-screen keyboard makes use of a stylus which helps with accuracy. I have used iPhones on several occasions and I always spend about 3x as much time typing in stuff than I would on my phone. You can't use a stylus to improve accuracy, the buttons are too small for large fingers, and the autocorrect feature can be qu
    • Yeah, this article was surprisingly useless in that way. Since it doesn't discuss the auto-correction we're left to wonder (and argue) about what the findings even mean.

      It's too bad that we couldn't get a more useful article about this interesting topic.
    • Not every iPhone user writes in a language supported by the spell checker.
    • by toleraen ( 831634 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:10PM (#21350017)
      From the study []

      If the iPhone corrective text feature made an improper correction, this was still counted as a single error even if multiple letters were changed.
      Sounds like they were using it.
    • Yes, I have had the exact opposite experience as this article. It makes me question the validity of the article's claims. The spell-checking on the device is fantastic. If you define typo as input typos, then I may agree that I have lots of typos. But all of those typos are cleaned up by the iPhone. I also love that I don't have to waste a bunch of real estate to a keyboard that I am only using for a very small percentage of my usage time. For me, the keyboard is a home run.
  • not suprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yold ( 473518 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @11:48AM (#21349677)
    my only gripe about the iPhone is a lack of hardware keyboard. Seriously, once you have a normal thumb keyboard, you won't want to go back to tapping the screen. Especially for business emails, keystroke accuracy is essential. Misspellings make you look like a moron.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by psych-major ( 767984 )
      This would imply that the iPhone can even attach to an exchange server like every other smart phone on the planet, but it can' typos on work emails are essentially a non-issue...See Apple thinks of everything...;) When I compare my co-workers iPhone to my Treo (an older 650 at that) his lacks in every way except the web browser...but at least he didn't pay 5 times as much as I did, oh wait...
    • Re:not suprising (Score:4, Insightful)

      by teh kurisu ( 701097 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @11:59AM (#21349853) Homepage

      I've tried the qwerty keyboards on a Nokia E61 and an iPod Touch. The iPod Touch keyboard is far superior, in my opinion. The E61 keys are lined up in a grid and not like a real qwerty keyboard, they're smaller and closer together and they have to be pushed quite hard for them to register (in comparison, the iPod Touch only requires the lightest touch). It's also difficult to see at a glance which key is which, because it's cluttered up with symbols and numbers (as you can't switch keyboards like you can on the iPod Touch).

      For business emails, I'd expect the sender to proof-read before hitting send, no matter what type of keyboard they used.

    • Re:not suprising (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:05PM (#21349945) Homepage

      If it's an important business e-mail, you should be proofreading it anyway. No interface is immune to typos, and even with a spell-check, you can still get the wrong word. Like "it's" and "its", "their" and "there", or "whole" and "hole".

      If you don't proofread important documents and communications, then you're going to look like a moron. The input device doesn't matter.

    • I totally agree. I came from a Blackberry 8800 to the Phone of i, and miss the keyboard. I'm not much of a text-er, so it isn't that bad. A decent browser was more of a necessity. At first I totally missed the Gmail widgets, but now they essentially exist on the iPhone.

      One of these days, we'll see more models if Apple wants to expand market share. But, I totally agree with a cautious approach to such a large market -- get a model out suited to the iPod demographic, and see what comes next.

      I am really surpri
    • by njfuzzy ( 734116 )
      I had a Treo 650. Now I have an iPhone. You're right about one thing... I will never go back.

      This keeps coming up. Apple made a conscious decision to use an all touch-screen face, and the reasons are pretty obvious. A physical keyboard takes away from screen space and/or thickness. I wouldn't give up either, especially the screen size, to be able to type 10% faster. This device is primarily a phone, an iPod, a widget dashboard (maps, calculator, other mini-apps), an email reader, and a web browser. I jus
      • by darjen ( 879890 )

        Apple made a conscious decision to use an all touch-screen face, and the reasons are pretty obvious. A physical keyboard takes away from screen space and/or thickness.
        Seems like the slide-out keyboard on the upcoming Nokia N810 pretty much takes care of that. Not to mention the 800x480 screen that fits in your pocket. With no expensive data plan included... the list goes on. I'm glad your happy with the iPhone, but I'll be waiting for the N810 to come out.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      True, the lack of tactile response from the iPhone keyboard makes it almost useless to use if you are moving around while typing (like when you're walking, or in a car... of course you shouldn't be texting while you drive anyway ;-) Still Apple has done a remarkable job in making the keyboard work. I like the way the keys enlarge as you touch them as a visual response - after a while, this does almost make up for not being able to feel the keys. Some of the apps even let you type with the phone turned si
  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @11:53AM (#21349755) Homepage

    The little article I saw about this said they measured people for a month with three keyboards: QWERTY (i.e. blackberry), numeric (i.e. RAZR), and iPhone. They said the iPhone people typed faster, but had more errors.

    I wonder if this was fair. The people they found had no experience with the iPhone I'm guessing. But had they used the other two before? Or were these people who never did any kind of text messaging before on the other kinds of phones, or had they used them just a little? That could make a difference.

    Does anyone know? This article doesn't seem to mention this either.

    I don't own an iPhone, I've only touched one a handful of times.

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Fluffy Bunnies ( 1055208 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @11:59AM (#21349863)

      Surprisingly, the study found that iPhone texters don't improve with experience. The researchers also asked users in the other groups to send text messages using the iPhone. These novice iPhone users made mistakes at the same rate as people who have owned iPhones for at least one month, the study found.
      Emphasis mine.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MBCook ( 132727 )

        Thanks for that, I hadn't caught it. But people could only be used to the iPhone for 2-3 months at this point. You could have been using a QWERTY or numeric phone keypad for text entry for years. So it's still possible that it's not a fair comparison. I'd just like to know more before I believe it better. If this was done a year from now I'd be more apt to believe it... but the iPhone is just so new compared to the other solutions.

        You've used a QWERTY keyboard. You've used a calculator. Combine the two and

  • by Vadim Grinshpun ( 31 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @11:54AM (#21349763) Homepage
    Could it be because you can't "feel" the keys? I don't have an iPhone (though I did get to play with one a few times), but the main thing I didn't like about it is that you (1) have to look at the keyboard/keypad to use it (and can't feel your way through it), and (2) at least to me as a newbie, it was not always clear exactly which part of the fingertip is touching the screen, and thus how to place the finger. I'm guessing that the latter is a matter of experience, but the former seems like a real hurdle, since you can't really touch-type. And if you want better accuracy, you do want to touch-type, methinks.

    • That was my thought on the matter. I can (slower than normal) text blind with relative accuracy simply because of the tactile input of the key divisions, however slight. Even when I am looking at the thing (Samsung "Darth Phone"...if you've seen one, you know what it is), I'm faster because of that extra sensory (but not extrasensory) input.

      I'm also a lot faster on T9 or even just ABC on a standard phone keypad than on my work Blackjack with its full, hamster-sized keyboard (which I hate).

      And additionally
    • I was speaking to somebody yesterday who had incredibly poor hearing, until he had an operation, and the doctors stated that he had essentially been reading lips without knowing it...

      We compensate for our senses in lots of ways, and some people can actually hammer out messages without even looking at their keyboard, but the iPhone requires you to look at it. I can enter text reasonably well on the iPhone, but still slower than a Blackberry.

      It will be interesting to see how the haptic screen technology will
    • i used one for first time, I have relatively large hands but not super big fingers, and I still fudged letters, even though I can type over 90 wpm on a real keyboard with 99% accuracy. It was very frustrating! I would prefer it switch to a full-iphone-screen keyboard and just enter text where i last clicked, rather than a screen view with a minuscule keyboard.
    • by DMoylan ( 65079 )
      i have used a variety of mobile devices over the years.

      the fastest one i could type on by a clear margin was a psion series 3a in 1994. the buttons had almost no travel but the os added an audible click from the speaker which you could change the volume of it or turn it off. on that keyboard i easily 20-30 wpm. very good clearance between the buttons and audio click told my brain when i mistyped as i would hear 0 or 2 clicks if i hadn't pressed hard enough or had also caught a button close to the one i h
  • by BMonger ( 68213 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @11:54AM (#21349767)
    I often type words incorrectly on my iPhone but it corrects them most of the time. On occasion it replaces them with an incorrect word especially if you're not typing a "real word" (oh becomes on). Is "hai 2 u! ttyl omg" considered a typo? It should be... :)

    Also I believe the iPhone learns how you type as you use it more and will even start correcting to incorrect words if you force them often enough. Were these people using clean install iPhones? If so that would contribute to it. If the people who were trying them out that were accustomed to the normal phones were using the same iPhones it would be using the other persons mistakes to make corrections which would lead to possibly more mistakes.

    In all honesty though... just look at your message before you send it?
    • when it pops up with an auto correct recommendation, and you dismiss it three times, it will not try that correction again.

      I keep getting the feeling that apple's marketing people did the spelling corrections though. It likes to fix my CaSe of iphone, and if I type "apps" for applications, it changes it to "Apple"
  • so a lot of people must be turning off the automatic spell checking?

    i know that i have much fewer typos when using my iphone, unfortunately it also means that many of my words and acronyms are replaced by some other unrelated word.

    my words look ok, but my sentences don't make any sensual.
  • Seriously, its weird there are people who watch their fingers typing on a keyboard, but the damn text is RIGHT ABOVE your fingers on the iPhone.

    If you fat finger something, back up and fix it. Its not the phones fault, its the end user's fault.

    I find I can be really freakin' sloppy typing on it and the only times it really screws something up is if I miss the space bar and run two words together.

    If anything, the biggest problem is you can type significantly ahead of the word corrections with it, and may hav
    • I was ready to buy an iPhone with my holiday bonus until I actually tried one out. I'm 6'5" and have really large hands/fingers. It is impossible for me to type on the iPhone, I often could not even press the first correct letter with my fat fingers. I don't want to rely upon a spell checker learning from my errors, I like to spell words correctly myself. I could type well when I turned the iPhone on its side (the keyboard on the screen is bigger in that mode), but as near as I could tell that only happ
    • by WebCowboy ( 196209 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:23PM (#21350185)
      If you fat finger something, back up and fix it. Its not the phones fault, its the end user's fault.

      SteveJ's reality distortion field is still going strong. I don't think I've come across any product defect or design flaw in an Apple product that hasn't had at least one Apple apologist step up and blame the customer. I remember early colour Powerbooks (the 1st-gen PowerPC ones) that had a lot of problems with power cord connectors and battery charging and though most users complained and Apple even admitted fault and issued a recall, there were a number of Apple fans who derided users for misusing or abusing their precious Powerbooks. Later there were white MacBooks that started to discolour after a few weeks of regular use. It couldn't be that snow-white was an impractical choice for a laptop enclosure, or that the plastic or protective coatings were not of high quality--it was the fault of users with their sweaty grubby hands (never mind that the cheap and not-so-cheerful Dells went far longer before showing wear or discolouring).

      Right from the days of the ZX81 and Atari 400 until today, it has been proven time and again that flat, non-tactile keyboard surfaces are inferior to keyboards/keypads with raised keys and tactile feedback when it comes to any sort of serious typing. This study regarding the iPhone's on-screen touch-keyboard is not the least bit surprising. Certainly it is no more surprising than an iEnthusiast complaining that users must evolve to accommodate their beloved Apple products.

      If you use your mobile for a lot of text messaging the iPhone is an inferior product and you should get a Blackberry instead. That doesn't mean the iPhone isn't pretty or cool or useful for other things, but it is what it is. It isn't stupid user's fault for iPhone typos, it is the design of the iPhone itself. It isn't meant to be a "text message machine"--it merely offers something "good enough" to do the occasional text message when you need to.
  • Could it be that the IPhone is an attractive product to people that can't spell?
  • by lamarguy91 ( 1101967 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:00PM (#21349867)
    Before everyone points at the iPhone, has anyone stopped to take the user-base into consideration? The iPhone user-base isn't the same as bunch of professionals typing e-mails on their desktops or business users tapping away on their Blackberries.

    I bet if the same type of study was done with Sidekick users, we'd see a higher error rate as well.

    I'm not saying that the phone interface doesn't have anything to do with it. I would never buy one as it doesn't have a keyboard. I simply think the user-base needs to be taken into consideration.

    FTA: "iPhone owners also left an average of 2.6 errors/completed message created on the iPhone compared to an average of 0.8 errors/completed message left by hard-key QWERTY phone owners on their own phone."

    So is user-laziness a factor here as well? It says that the user "left" errors in the message. I make errors in typing all the time, but I usually correct them. Why not conduct a study to see what the error-rate is without letting the users make corrections. That would be the best way to see just how accurate initial text input was.
  • Yeah, but my IPhone has gotten me laid, can you say that about your blackberry?
  • by iphayd ( 170761 )
    They admit to an extremely small group of subjects. What that means is it's the iPhone owners in the office. While I don't discount their results as a possibility, it may just be _those_ few users, and not the majority. I suspect that further testing should be done.

    (If anyone wants to fund an additional subject, I'd be happy to become one for the price of the phone and six months of coverage.)
  • by Odonian ( 730378 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:16PM (#21350083)
    The 'revolutionary' thing about the iPhone touch keyboard is not that it's a better keyboard than a real tactile one. In fact, it's worse than a real keyboard in terms of accuracy and speed, even with the spell correcting and magnifying keys and click sound etc. The real value of the iPhone keyboard is that it does not take up real estate on your phone, which leaves room for a big screen for other things; pictures, movies, maps, etc. without making the phone a huge unwieldy monster.

    In spite of it's shortcomings, it is still more than sufficient for typing search keywords, web urls, quick messages and replies, but if you are a mobile email addict and actually send lots of email, you are probably better off with a blackberry.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      how could you be the first person to post this?

      touch-typing works because you can feel where your hands are over the keyboard. You can feel when a key has been pressed. Without that tactile feedback, you cannot touch type, and (surprise!) you wont be able to improve your typing speed/accuracy. (You will always be hunting and pecking on the iPhone.)

      The apple people knew that, and they made a conscious decision to sacrifice typing speed for screen real-estate.

      Seems to have paid off.
  • Perhaps the far superior, far more efficient Dvorak layout would help. I've been using it for 12 years now ;-) QWERTY just plain sucks.
  • First, consider the methodology of this study. The sample size was 20 people, per device type. Who knows what the error bars on that look like? Next, nowhere do they list what they define as an error. Do common SMS abbreviations count against a user?

    Another thing to consider is the target market of the iPhone. The main appeal of the iPhone is that it makes tasks easy for users, thus opening up the smartphone market to people who have never tried using advanced phone features before. The majority of the pe

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
    It's way too easy to miss by a key and hit the one next to it. You can't rest your fingers on the screen because it's so sensitive, as well. Your best bet for typing on the thing seems to be "hunt and peck" with your index finger. That method of input is rather painful -- I would actually prefer to use palm graffiti, and I couldn't STAND that input method.

    The upshot of all that is avoid the iphone for long documents. If you can connect a bluetooth keyboard to it, that would help a lot. Must look into that

  • Several items about this study are quite notable if you read the whole thing: 1) No reporting of the speeds achieved by the subjects using numeric keypad phones. True, you can assume they were the slowest, but just how slow? Why blatantly omit that data? 2) (As others have reported) Why allow users to go back and correct errors? When you test WPM typing speed on a typewriter/computer you do not allow error correction. Why was that deviated from here? 3) Users of full-keyboard devices (blackberries?) h
  • Something that many don't realize about the iPhone/iPod touch's virtual keyboard is that it corrects *before* you type as well. That is, if you type TR it knows that the next letter isn't likely to be, for example, S, so if your finger is a bit too far off to the right of A, intended as part of TRAIN, it will still register as A because it expands the area that will register as A and decreases the area that will register as S, since that is much more likely to be what you meant.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:38PM (#21350385) Journal

    Laptops are the way they are, BIG, because they keyboard needs to be big. If you ever have been forced to use a small keyboard, or even one of those horrible flat ones without physical keys you will know why. Our fingers just ain't that accurate while typing. I can blind type fairly but my fingers still depend heavily on the shape of the keys to press the right one.

    That is the reason keys on your keybaord are tapered like / \ that so that two keys next to each other /i\ /o\ have a large space between them so that if you slightly miss one you don't hit another.

    Keys are also slightly curved inwards for even better guidance of your fingers. Work with a keyboard that doesn't have this and watch your accuracy drop.

    This has always been a weakness with touchscreens. For display stands the keyboard is a necesarry evil, while you could do LOTS of intresting things with a touch screen as the input method, the simple fact is that if you want people to start typing, they want/need/expect a traditional keyboard with properly shaped and spaced keys. If people only have to make the most basic inputs, a touch screen will do, and can in many ways help avoid wrong inputs. (Experiment, Prompt the user to enter Y/N, and record what keys they actually press. WARNING: you will loose all fate in humanity when you see the results. Intresting side note, once had a display that at one point asked the user to touch the screen to continue. Should have known better then to use this for a display at a household show. The women touched the screen alright, the sides, the top, the bottom, everything BUT the screen. Granted this was some time ago)

    The iPhones touch screen is in many ways totally crap, no tactile feedback on where your fingers are (no homekeys), no tactile feedback on a keypress/release. Way too closely spaced. The "advantage" it has is that physical keyboards at that size are little better, and very prone to breaking.

    Why do you think over all these years we still have keyboards with physical keys that are still the same shape as they were on typewriters from before the war? They work.

  • All I know is that I'm 36 and have never been particularly graceful with sending text messages. They always took a long time. I tried a fixed keyboard instead of a numeric and it didn't seem to help all that much. The Iphone keyboard seems to be perfect for me. I don't have to worry if I pressed hard enough. I don't have to worry what letters 9 is. I can just type my text and get it over with.
  • My finding has been the exact opposite. I can use two fingers to type on the screen. Most typos are auto corrected and my words per second has increased the more I text. I tend to not abbreviate anything and spell it out. The new patch (1.1.1) adds the not publicized ability to auto-punctuate as well by hitting space bar twice at the end of a sentence. I really enjoy texting on the iPhone, there was a very small learning curve on the on-screen keyboard but it is not as bad as everyone is making it out t

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?