back to article Testers give iPhone virtual keyboard the thumbs down

The virtual Qwerty keyboard on Apple's iPhone allows users to enter text as quickly as they would on another handset's physical keyboard, but they'll make rather more mistakes in the process. That's the conclusion drawn by a Chicago usability consultancy after watching 60 punters tap away on a variety of handsets. Twenty of them …

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Well I really like it

Having bought my iphone in September I'm really impressed with the keyboard. I used to think I was pretty quick with predictive text on a numeric keypad but this is way better.

While I do still mis-key a few times, the auto-correct fixes it nine times out of ten. And I don't know whether it's getting used to me, or me to it, but I'm much faster now than when I first bought it.

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Boffin

Hardly a massive sample is it?

While not a fan at all of the iBlob I hardly see 20 testers as a representative user sample. A sample of a few hundred testers per handset would be statistically more meaningful.

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Predictive text vs Virtual keyboard

A few weeks ago I had a go on an iPod touch in an Apple shop and tried the touchscreen texting on it, I agree with this article, it is indeed very easy to make input errors on the virtual keyboard, I found it a very frustrating experience, such a pity.

On a normal phone I find that predicitive text rocks. Why do so many of my friends seems to hate it?

It takes a little bit longer to initally get the hang of it, but using it can type full and complex messages on my phone without using any shorthand, if I doesn't end up with the word you require you can get it to cycle through all the combinations of words until it finds the one you are after with a single press of a button, maybe the predictive text haters don't realise this.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmm

As an owner of an iPhone, Blackberry and ordinary predictive mobile I have to question whether this isn't a simple matter of each to their own.

I find writing text the quickest in the order shown in the first paragraph. Admittedly I may key text incorrectly more often in the iPhone, but the software corrects my mistakes in real time almost without fail. I also find handy shortcuts like double clicking the space bar adding a full stop and then a space a handy time saver.

I also find it a lot easier to type numbers and punctuation on the iPhone as it has them all clearly displayed and you simply press what you see rather than searching for the symbol on the small Blackberry and then remembering to press the ALT key first etc.

That said, touch typing isn't really viable on the iPhone, so you need to trust that what you are pressing is actually being displayed. This could be a problem for some users.

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Pointless

So, the test is specifically designed to stop the iPhone's automatic error correction, and doesn't allow predicitve text on other handsets.

It is really just a test to see how well people can press buttons, not a test to see how useable a keypad/phone actually is.

This is a truly pointless - and smacks of an attempt to use 'Blackberry' and 'iPhone' references to drive traffic to their site.

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Anonymous Coward

argh

I don't care how many mistakes random contender X makes on average. I would like to know whether it is possible to mix languages in the same TXT, or at least switch languages in a quick and straightforward manner. This is Europe, most people use their local language + (at least) English.

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Stop

Meh

I hate studies that point out the obvious :P I love my slide out qwerty keyboard, and I aint moving to no iPhone unless it gets a hardware keyboard too..

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Jobs Horns

Flamebait

Because Apple have done such a good job of creating a fantastic new UI that revolutionises the way we use mobile phones. but the iphone isn't about features or usability - it's the experience :p

As Brainiac would say:

Simple text messaging, another thing the iphone can't do

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Anonymous Coward

Rubbish

Most people will have been typing on hard numeric keys for nearly 10 years now. That people haven't completely adjusted to a new form of input inside a few weeks shouldn't really be that surprising. What a shit, uninformative peice of "research".

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Why not a virtual numeric keypad?

It seemed like a no-brainer to me to include a virtual 12-key phone keypad so that people who are used to using a standard mobile for texting would be able to transition without adjusting to using a virtual qwerty keyboard. You'd end up with larger keys and fewer mistakes. Are additional interface options forbidden for some reason?

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So?

Is the touchscreen keyboard good or bad?

They managed to complete the tests in the same amount of time as blackberry users but made more mistakes.

Does this mean that you can afford to input text whilst making and correcting more mistakes in the same time it takes a blackberry user to enter the same text whilst only allowing them time to make a couple of mistakes?

That would therefore suggest that the touchscreen keyboard and iphone interface are better - if you suffer fat finger syndrome?

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What smart people have known for many months

It was obvious with the first pic that the keyboard was a joke. I know two people that have this phone, and they still can't type with it, they've had it for months! I can type 30+wpm on my HTC with NO errors, and have done so since day one.

Even more laughable is that they are constantly saying "Wow your phone can do that?" Haha. My phone is two years old, cost half the price of theirs, and has twice the features.

Suckers!

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Not really just the iPhone, but why QWERTY?

As I understand it, the Qwerty keyboard was designed so that the letters didn't stick in the typewriter age. As we don't have this requirement anymore, surely a new layout could be devised to increase wpm. Is it just that manufacturers think we'd be scared of the new that keeps us with QWERTY

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Stop

Experience?

I didn't follow the link, so perhaps they qualify their results... however, given most people these days have a fair amount of experience in using standard mobile buttons to type out message... and very little experience of using touch screens, I'm not that surprised.

Run the survey again in a year or two and then we'll see.

It didn't take me long to get up to speed with the iPhone keypad. After two days usage, I can type much much faster on the iPhone than on my old SonyEricsson k800i's keypad.

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This sentence tells us all we need to know:

"While the iPhone's corrective text feature helps, this data suggests that iPhone users who have owned the device for a month still make about the same number of errors as the day they got it."

It takes a week or more to get used to the iPhone keyboard. You make so many mistakes on the first day that it's virtually unusable. I'm as quick as I've ever been with other handsets, now. And the autocorrect feature is scarily accurate - in fact the only time it's got anything wrong for me is when "bugger" became "bigger"... Obviously those Yanks aren't used to proper English, eh?

This study seems to be very poorly constructed, as by the sound of things it doesn't allow any of the handsets to perform to their full potential. Not to mention, of course, the stupidly small size of the study.

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Coat

@ (one of) Anonymous Coward

'uninformative peice of '

Typed on your iPhone I presume.

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Go

Oh well

Oh well the Jesus phone has numerous fatal flaws how unusual it is not!

As like all Apple produced items from the age of the first Mac there is always a catch 22 defect by design that no fan boy will ever admit to !

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Jobs Halo

Oh dear me.

I have to say that I've had no real trouble with the iPhone's virtual keyboard so far.

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Hmm, thumb-board, handwriting, or stylus?

The iPhone is beautiful, with a great UI; there's no (subjective) doubt about that, though it's not for me.

I Just take the smallest 3G phone I can get, and do the rest on my Nokia N800, which is what I'm posting this from. In under two minutes.

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