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iPhone Chart   (Source: Image Via User Centric)

iPhone Time Chart  (Source: Image Via User Centric)
Study shows iPhone on-screen keypad is twice as slow for texting as QWERTY keypad phones

One of the largest complaints posed by new iPhone users is the efficiency of the onscreen keyboard. According to a new study potential iPhone users can now at least quantify that complaint.

User Centric, a usability study group, unveiled the results of its iPhone study today conducted with 20 participants aimed at determining if the iPhone’s touch sensitive onscreen keyboard was as effective as traditional QWERTY keyboard or multitap messaging phones.

The study participants had never used an iPhone and were considered to be heavy text message senders defined as sending at least 15 text messages per week. Out of the twenty participants, ten owned phones with QWERTY keypads and ten owned phones with numeric keypads that used multitap to get the correct characters.

User Centric brought participants in for one-on-one time with a moderator for each of the tests. The test consisted of sending 12 standard text messages created for use in the study with each of the messages being between 104 and 106 characters long. Six of the messages contained instances of proper capitalization, while six had no capitalization and used some abbreviations.

Since none of the participants were iPhone owners, they were each given one minute to get familiar with the touch keypad. This study intended to show the decrease in productivity a new iPhone owner would see if they went from their current phone to the iPhone.

The study concluded that participants that normally used a phone with a QWERTY keypad took almost twice as long to enter the same text messages with the iPhone as they did with their normal phone. Participants who normally used a numeric multitap phone took nearly the same length of time to enter text messages on the iPhone.

“For QWERTY users, texting was fast and accurate. But when they switched to the iPhone, they were frustrated with the touch sensitive keyboard," said Jen Allen, Usability Specialist, User Centric.

Also noted in the study is the fact that many participants hit the wrong keys on the iPhone’s onscreen keyboard and the errors were typically corrected by using the backspace key to delete characters one at a time because of difficulty getting the cursor inserted correctly in the middle of text. Only seven study participants figured out how to use the iPhone’s corrective text feature on their own. Improvement with accuracy while using the iPhone after 30 minutes was noted, but the difference in speed between QWERTY phones and the iPhone persisted.

I have used the iPhone for about as long as the study participants while fiddling with a friends iPhone and using it at the Apple store. I fully agree with the inaccuracy of the keyboard. My fingers were too large and the keys were to close together for me to hit them accurately at any speed. I wished more than once for a stylus to hit the keys with.

"It's important to consider the changes a person has to make when they switch to the iPhone," said Gavin Lew, Managing Director at User Centric. "It should be easy for people to do common tasks, such as text messaging, using the iPhone's less traditional touch interface."

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RE: everybody...
By seeker353 on 8/16/2007 11:54:53 PM , Rating: 2
A 4.3" 16:9 480p screen?? That's only a .112 millimeter pixel. I don't think we can make screens that small yet. It's like asking for a 9.7" 1080p HDTV. Not saying that it'd wouldn't be nice though...

RE: everybody...
By daftrok on 8/17/2007 12:53:58 AM , Rating: 2
If they can make a 3.5" 480p screen (its on the iPhone, look at their specs) they can make a 4.3" 480p screen

RE: everybody...
By daftrok on 8/17/2007 12:56:09 AM , Rating: 2
Gah nvmd I forgot its portrait. Lemme be more specific: I meant 480x272, like on the PSP, but LED instead of LCD. DAILYTECH PLEASE LET US EDIT OUR POSTS

RE: everybody...
By spluurfg on 8/17/2007 8:16:30 AM , Rating: 2
How about this?

5" screen, 640x480, touchscreen and qwerty... with 3mp autofocus camera... at $850 cash, it isn't a whole lot more expensive, considering you don't need a contract =P

RE: everybody...
By theapparition on 8/17/2007 8:37:36 AM , Rating: 2
I've have a 640x480p screen on my Axim x51v. It's 3:4, but that still comes out very close to .112 mil pixels at .127 mil. And that device is getting 2-3years old. I'm sure they have higher density pixels now. So yes, I think its very possible.

RE: everybody...
By Suomynona on 8/17/2007 10:46:18 AM , Rating: 2
Very possible and very preferable, too. I have an Axim x50v, and browsing the internet is pretty painful even with the high-res (for a PDA or phone) screen. I'm sure the iPhone does a better job as far as their browser goes compared to IE for PPC, but it still sucks to have an internet-centric device that forces you to scroll excessively to view most websites. As far as I'm concerned, 1024 horizontal pixels is the bare minimum for a comfortable internet experience.

RE: everybody...
By seeker353 on 8/17/2007 6:56:54 PM , Rating: 2
Actually the calculator I used says .117 for the Axim (3.7" 4:3 640x480). Either way I stand corrected. I guess it's time to roll out some 10" 1080p portable Blu-ray/HD-DVD players, lol.

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