04 November 2013
The popularity of touchscreen phones has been growing around the world since the iPhones and Android phones were released. More and more mobile phones with large touchscreen have been produced, however, the phones with small size displays are still in the majority of touch phones. The foremost interface on touch smartphones is the information input module using soft keyboards. Traditional input methods on touch phones have either too small key buttons (such as QWERTY) or too many functions (such as 3\(\times\)4 keyboard), which are inconvenient to use. Moreover, the conventional soft keyboards only use tapping to input texts while current touch smartphones allow various gestures on the touchscreen, such as sliding. In this paper, a novel soft keyboard called QWERT is proposed for touchscreen-based smartphones. The users can interact with phones via finger gestures of tapping or sliding when input text by using the QWERT. In doing so, the interactions between users and smartphones will be faster and easier. An experiment carried out on inexperienced human subjects shows that they can learn very fast due to their familiarities with QWERTY. A simulation experiment based on a cognitive architecture, ACT-R, was also conducted to predict the movement time (MT) of experienced human subjects. The simulation results show that the MT using QWERT outperforms other default keyboards. These outcomes imply that the novel QWERT is a viable option for touch smartphone users. Based on the novel design, an application is released on Android systems. This application is expected to give better user experience for customers who use touch smartphones.