Thursday, November 15, 2007

Living digital in an analog world

And now comes a report which suggests that it is harder for humans to type on virtual keys than real ones. Did we see this one coming? According to a report in InfoWorld from IDG, a study conducted using an admittedly small research sample found Apple iPhone users making 5.6 errors per text message vs. 2.1 mistakes for keyboard users and 2.4 mistakes for numeric keypad users. The report doesn't address bottomline productivity: how long it took to type each message, regardless of mistakes made during typing, but it's likely that this was proportional to the number of mistakes made. With improvements in auto-correcting software that learns from the mistake patters of users, it might be possible to improve effective speed regardless of mistakes. Nevertheless, this pilot study highlights the fact that humans, being analog beings, operate better in an analog environment -- at least at the interface level, regardless of what goes on under the hood.

No comments: