Volume 27 Issue 10 - November 21, 2014 PDF
Design and evaluation of small, linear QWERTY keyboards
Han-Chi Hsiao, Fong-Gong Wu *, Chien-Hsu Chen
Department of Industrial Design, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, 701, Taiwan
Applied Ergonomics, Vol. 45, No. 3, 655-662 (2014)
SSCI Categories: Ergonomics, Ranking: 2/16
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Smaller keyboards are necessary in order to minimize the size of digital devices. The QWERTY keyboard has been around so long that most people are accustomed to its key positions. However, small keyboards result in slower typing. Besides, traditional keyboards are mechanical and shifting of position is required when typing, while digital keyboards do not require the shift of position but simply the swaying of fingers. The gentler method of input decreases the time and error rate caused by shifting.

Four new types of keyboards have been designed. They are the linear, separated linear, edge, and corner keyboards. The keyboards are designed with input methods to type in different languages. We invited 16 fast and 16 slow typists to test and evaluate the input efficiency, accuracy, comfort, preference, and learnability of these four miniature keyboards. Results show that the separated linear keyboard has achieved the best performance.

This research has obtained two patents in Taiwan and patent no. USA8264383B2 in the United States.

Figure 1 Four miniature keyboards


  1. H. C. Hsiao*, F. G. Wu, C. H. Chen, “Design and evaluation of small, linear QWERTY keyboards,” Appl. Ergon. 45(3) 655-662 (2014)
  2. R. Yoshitake, “Relationship between key space and user performance on reduced keyboards,” Applied Human Science, 14(6), 287-292 (1995)
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