How We Type: Movement Strategies and Performance in Everyday Typing [CHI’16]


Researchers at Aalto University provide the first analysis of typing strategies.

This paper revisits the present understanding of typing, which originates mostly from studies of trained typists using the ten- finger touch typing system. Their goal is to characterise the majority of present-day users who are untrained and employ diverse, self-taught techniques. In a transcription task, they compare self-taught typists and those that took a touch typing course. They report several differences in performance, gaze deployment and movement strategies. The most surprising finding is that self-taught typists can achieve performance levels comparable with touch typists, even when using fewer fingers. Motion capture data exposes 3 predictors of high performance: 1) unambiguous mapping (a letter is consistently pressed by the same finger), 2) active preparation of upcoming keystrokes, and 3) minimal global hand motion. They also release an extensive dataset on everyday typing behavior.

Long paper by Anna Feit, Daryl Weir and Antti Oulasvirta, accepted at CHI 2016.

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