Investigating touchscreen typing: The effect of keyboard size on typing speed

Andrew Sears, Doreen Revis, Janet Swatski, Rob Crittenden, Ben Shneiderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Two studies investigated the effect keyboard size has on typing speed and error rates for touchscreen keyboards using the lift-off strategy. A cursor appeared when users touched the screen and a key was selected when they lifted their finger from the screen. Four keyboard sizes were investigated ranging from 24.6 cm to 6.8 cm wide. Results indicate that novices can type approximately 10 words per minute (WPM) on the smallest keyboard and 20 WPM on the largest. Experienced users improved to 21 WPM on the smallest keyboard and 32 WPM on the largest. These results indicate that, although slower, small touchscreen keyboards can be used for limited data entry when the presence of a regular keyboard is not practical. Applications include portable pocket-sized or palmtop computers, messaging systems, and personal information resources. Results also suggest the increased importance of experience on these smaller keyboards. Research directions are suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-22
Number of pages6
JournalBehaviour and Information Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences
  • Human-Computer Interaction


Dive into the research topics of 'Investigating touchscreen typing: The effect of keyboard size on typing speed'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this