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Old 05-08-2010, 08:39 AM
slitchfield slitchfield is offline
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Ideal keyboard design in smartphones - looking at Aspect Ratios

David Gilson has a theory. It concerns correlating the aspect ratio of a smartphone's virtual or physical qwerty keyboard with text entry speed, on the grounds that one's thumbs have more (or less) work to do, depending on form factor. Read on for his data and the theory in detail - and see if you can help produce more data points with your own device(s).

Read on in the full article.

  #2  
Old 05-08-2010, 11:51 AM
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Sym

Recently (E61i, E71) Nokia put SYM key in bottom right corner, which was very convenient for typing national characters in most languages. Now when they put it directly under "C" key it's almost impossible to type "C" with language specific "ornament". And "ctrl" key also disappears often...

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Old 05-08-2010, 11:58 AM
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Personal Preference

It's all about personal preference. Yes, the more compact a keyboard is, the higher the typing speeds will be theoretically, but only to the point where it's still usable. The E72 is riding the line of usablilty for me. I have way more typing errors on my E72 than I do my N97, which is by far more comfortable to use, despite its awkward layout. 5mm more of width on the E72 would make all the difference in the world, and make it's usability amazing for me, but I would still prefer that E7/N8-01 prototype any day of the week. I'll take a big keyboard that I'm a slow typer on over an E72 keyboard any day of the week. I just hope Nokia's designers aren't sacrificing that size for something that won't tire your fingers out.

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Old 05-08-2010, 12:59 PM
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I like BB Torch / Palm Pre keyboard layout. It allows for big touch screen and keyboard which can be used with one hand to dial. Unfortunately for both phones their other hardware spec are not good enough for me. They should be at least N8 level. Is Nokia able to help here?

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Old 05-08-2010, 02:14 PM
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One day phones will reach Psion Revo / Psion 5 standard. Back to the 90s.

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Old 05-08-2010, 02:45 PM
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I like BB Torch / Palm Pre keyboard layout. It allows for big touch screen and keyboard which can be used with one hand to dial. Unfortunately for both phones their other hardware spec are not good enough for me. They should be at least N8 level. Is Nokia able to help here?
N8 hardware specs + software + Torch/Pre form factor/keyboard layout would be perfect for me.

  #7  
Old 05-08-2010, 05:25 PM
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My main reason for choosing the N97 rather than a phone with a virtual keyboard is that I do not want the keyboard to take up part of the screen when I need to type. I have tried using the virtual keyboard featured in the Opera Mini, but do not like it. I also have a BlackBerry Tour.

Of these three keyboards I have had some experience with, I like the N97 physical keyboard the most, followed by the BlackBerry and then the virtual keyboard. I think it is mainly personal preference and what you are used to. I got the N97 first and got used to the keyboard. I got the BlackBerry later and found the keys too close together. My thumbs keep hitting the wrong key often. I tried the virtual keyboard for about a day or two before I figured out how to get rid of it and never really liked it. I kept hitting the wrong key as well.

The N97 keyboard wasn't that easy to use at first either. It took some getting used to. At first I was using my thumb nails to type. Then I switched to just using my thumb. The fact that the keys are spaced fairly far apart makes it easy to use my thumbs without hitting the wrong key. The lack of a third row for numbers is annoying. It takes getting used to double pressing the Alt (the arrow pointing diagonally up and left) key if you want to enter numbers. Some prompts are context sensitive, so if you are entering a phone number in the contacts, it automatically default to the Alt mode. Also, in many screens the default is to capitalise the first letter of a new paragraph. There are a few apps and many web pages that do not follow this convention, so you have to remember the exceptions. One fairly common mistake I still make is pressing the Sym key. It's just at a bad place. I accidentally hit the Sym key often when I mean to press the Alt key that is next to it.

The BlackBerry is just so different than the N97 that I find it very difficult to use it after using the N97. The keys are too close together. The numbers keys require pressing Alt as well and are in a numberic keypad configuration. I'm more used to a typewriter configuration for number keys, so am very slow in typing numbers on a number keypad compared to a typewriter layout. I also rarely type on the BB where as I type on the N97 quite often.

I think that no matter how you design the keyboard, some will like it and some will not. There is currently no standard for keyboard designes. When you switch phones, there will be a learning curve. The tests in the linked articles on typing speed are quite interesting. However, I wonder if the typing speeds are for people who are new to those keyboards or for people who are used to them. I think that my typing speed now on my N97 are close to double that of the first week I got my phone. My BB typing speed probably hasn't improved much at all.
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Old 05-08-2010, 09:45 PM
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"One day phones will reach Psion Revo / Psion 5 standard. Back to the 90s."

If only! Imagine what Psion of old could do with Symbian^3, or Android 2.2, and the sort of chips and screens that exist today. I would love to see Psion's take on a modern smart-phone.

  #9  
Old 06-08-2010, 11:32 AM
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Palm Pixi Plus keyboard is unbeatable

It's not only the distance the thumbs have to travel but also the force that is necessary (and therefore the time required) to press the keys that matters for typing speed. For me the Palm Pixi plus has the best keyboards of all phones by far since the keys are very clicky, easy to press, almost impossible to miss when typing fast and their distance is short. And this is also one of the smallest keyboards!

  #10  
Old 06-08-2010, 12:31 PM
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Whatever the keyboard, it makes little difference to me, I just adapt. Thisd makes all the anal little differences like thumb travel negligible and irrelevant.
 

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