Open Exhibits - Research - Papers



Beyond QWERTY: Augmenting Touch-Screen Keyboards with Multi-Touch Gestures for Non-Alphanumeric Input


Although many techniques have been proposed to improve text input on touch screens, the vast majority of this research ignores non-alphanumeric input (i.e., punctuation, symbols, and modifiers). To support this input, widely adopted commercial touch-screen interfaces require mode switches to alternate keyboard layouts for most punctuation and symbols. Our approach is to augment existing ten- finger QWERTY keyboards with multi-touch gestural input that can exist as a complement to the moded-keyboard approach. To inform our design, we conducted a study to elicit user-defined gestures from 20 participants. The final gesture set includes both multi-touch and single-touch gestures for commonly used non-alphanumeric text input. We implemented and conducted a preliminary evaluation of a touch-screen keyboard augmented with this technique. Findings show that using gestures for non-alphanumeric input is no slower than using keys, and that users strongly prefer gestures to a moded-keyboard interface.