This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Optimization of Split Keyboard Design for Touchscreen Devices




Alamdar Yazdi, Mohammad Ali

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Computer Science and Software Engineering


While many large touchscreen devices have a split keyboard option to enable two-thumb typing, there are significant differences in the design which affect users’ text entry rate. A mixed integer-programming model is developed to optimize key-to-thumb assignment with the objective of minimizing the expected time to type a character. Computer simulations are conducted to determine the optimal key dimension under different values of the Fitts’ law’s slope coefficient, typing error rate, and alternate-hand advantage phenomenon. The results show that text entry rate and the optimal key-to-thumb assignment depend on key dimensions, user’s speed-accuracy profile, and the level of alternate-hand advantage. The optimal keyboard is proposed. To validate the analytical findings, an empirical study is conducted with eighteen users and six different keyboards in terms of key dimensions and typing zone. Empirical results report between 7% and 18% improvement in the text entry rate over the other split keyboards tested.