Touchscreen interfaces for alphanumeric data entry

Catherine Plaisant, Andrew Sears

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Touchscreens have been demonstrated as useful for many applications. Although a traditional mechanical keyboard is the device of choice when entering alphanumeric data, it may not be optimal when only limited data must be entered, or when the keyboard layout, character set, or size may be changed. A series of experiments has demonstrated the usability of touchscreen keyboards. The first study indicated that users who type 58 wpm on a traditional keyboard can type 25 wpm using a touchscreen and that the traditional monitor position is suboptimal for touchscreen use. A second study reported on typing rates for keyboards of various sizes (from 6.8 to 24.6 cm wide). Novices typed approximately 10 wpm on the smallest and 20 wpm on the largest of the keyboards. Users experienced with touchscreen keyboards typed 21 wpm on the smallest and 32 wpm on the largest. We then report on a recent study done with more representative users and more difficult tasks. Thirteen cashiers were recruited for this study and were required to complete ten trials in which they typed names and addresses with punctuation. Results indicate that the users improved rapidly from 9.5 wpm on the first trial to 13.8 wpm on the last trial, reaching their fastest performance after only 25 minutes. Although custom interfaces will be preferred for special types of data (e.g. telephone numbers, times, dates, colors) there will always be situations when limited quantities of text must be entered. In these situations a touchscreen keyboard can be used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-297
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Human Factors Society
StatePublished - 1992
EventProceedings of the Human Factors Society 36th Annual Meeting. Part 2 (f 2) - Atlanta, GA, USA
Duration: Oct 12 1992Oct 16 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Touchscreen interfaces for alphanumeric data entry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this