There is no shortage of weird virtual keyboard solutions in the Play Store, claiming to solve the puzzle of easy typing on a piece of glass. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute in cooperation with colleagues from the University of Montana and University of St Andrews, have come up with the newest entrant in that category, called KALQ.
They are aiming to release it next month as a dedicated app in the Google Play Store for free, claiming that countless hours went into scientifically testing the most suitable arrangement for on-screen keyboards. The location of the keys is unorthodox, and the researchers say it requires a few hours of training, like you did when you started typing on QWERTY ones, but afterwards the speed of typing increased 34% compared to the conventional layout you'd find on tablets like the iPad and Android slates. As advantages of the new KALQ keyboard over the traditional QWERTY solution they point out:
- The division of work is almost equal, at 54% and 46% for the right and left thumb, respectively.
- Alternation is rapid: 62% of the taps are switches.
- Travel distances are short: On average, the left thumb moves 86 px, the right 117.
- The spacebars are centrally located.
- The right thumb handles all vowels except y. The clustering of vowels around the spacebar favors quick switches and minimizes travel distance. The right thumb is responsible for 64% of same-side taps.
- The left thumb has most of the consonants, exploiting its ability to hover above the next button sooner. It has most first letters of words and most of the consonants.