Have you had an experience in the recent past when your fingers started to pain while you are trying to type on your smartphone or tablet? Did you wish at that time for a more ergonomically designed layout of the keys which would have been less stressful on your fingers and at the same time made it easier and faster for you to get your thoughts into words on the hand held devices.
Then it’s time for you to thank Dr Per Ola Kristensson, Lecturer in Human Computer Interaction in the School of Computer Science at the University of St Andrews, Dr Antti Oulasvirta, Senior Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Germany and their teams because they have just gone ahead and created a new system, dubbed “KALQ”, which if accepted and adopted by a large enough user base could replace the existing “QWERTY” keyboard which has been in use for more than a century and it has been lately employed also in smartphones and tablets .
The two inventors are scheduled to introduce their revolutionary work on the “KALQ” keyboard at the highly-regarded Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems which is to take place in Paris on the 1st of May. This forum traditionally acts as a podium to discuss and review some of the outstanding research and development in human-computer interactions.
As per the information released by the research teams via the press office of University of St Andrews on April 24th, intensive studies since 2011 on the thumb & figure motions over the key board, predictive and trend forecasting analysis coupled with testing out various permutations and combinations for ideal layouts designed to yield superior performance led to the final design and shape of the new “KALQ” keyboard.
Based on research the team has summarized that the QWERTY layout (originally developed by Christopher Sholes, an editor of Milwaukee newspaper in the 1870’s) has to be significantly altered in order to realize a appreciable gain in the speed when one is trying to adapt to a two-thumb text entry mode.
Hence they came up with the “KALQ” keyboard format in which the layout is divided between the right and left side of the screens. It is designed in a manner where the left thumb would have easy access to common first letters while the right thumb would have easy and quick access to vowels. Added to this reworked layout is a proprietary developed “probabilistic error correction” algorithm which will take into account the nature of thumb movements and statistical knowledge about the text users are typing to deliver a fast rate of typing while typing via the KALQ keyboard.
The research team claims that this KALQ keyboard when used by trained users can offer a 34 percent increase in typing speeds on smartphones or tablets and are excited to present it to the world at large on the 1st of May. The research team is looking forward to get KALQ (this is the order the keys appear in the new keyboard) out of the research labs and into the hands of end users via a release of application for Android phone users before the end of 2013.
While the research team exults in developing a new keypad mode via the KALQ to users, the success or the lack of it would be determined only by quick and early adoption of the same by users at large and at this stage there is a big question mark on the same.
Only time will tell whether the KALQ keyboard is going to grow to the same level of the popularity and experience the longevity as the all prevalent QWERTY.