KALQ Keyboard Map Could Allow Faster Thumb Typing

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the standard QWERTY keyboard layout is not the best suited for touchscreen devices where users primarily just use their two thumbs. A team of researchers from Montana Tech in the U.S., St. Andrews, and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Germany, have jointly developed the KALQ keyboard layout that they claim will make "thumb-typing faster on touchscreen devices such as tablets and large smartphones.”

The new layout splits the keyboard into two easily reachable groups of keys that allow trained users to reach 37 words per minute with the help of an “error correction algorithm.” According to the researchers, users typing on a QWERTY keyboard scored just 20 words per minute.

Dr. Kristensson, lecturer in human computer interaction in the School of Computer Science at the University of St. Andrews, said, "We believe KALQ provides a large enough performance improvement to incentivise users to switch and benefit from faster and more comfortable typing."

The developers will present their work at the CHI 2013 conference (the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems) in Paris on May 1. The KALQ keyboard layout will be available as a free application on Google Play in the near future.

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  • tony_g
    First was qwerty for typewriters, then came Dvorak to allow faster/ single hand typing on the keyboard. Now Kalq for thumb typing on a tablet. I use swype on my galaxy s2 and it works great for me on touch screens. I think the biggest problem is becoming proficient with the new layout not to mention learning it first. As long qwerty is the de facto standard, it will be hard to switch to anything else without a good reason of doing so.
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  • tony_g
    First was qwerty for typewriters, then came Dvorak to allow faster/ single hand typing on the keyboard. Now Kalq for thumb typing on a tablet. I use swype on my galaxy s2 and it works great for me on touch screens. I think the biggest problem is becoming proficient with the new layout not to mention learning it first. As long qwerty is the de facto standard, it will be hard to switch to anything else without a good reason of doing so.
    12
  • NeeKo
    It works great if you're writing in english. As tony said, qwerty is still the best because you already know it!
    -2
  • curiosul
    QWERTY is not the best (it wasn't for a long time) but it's here to stay only because of the habit
    Same with metric system in US or driving on the right in UK or manual transmissions ...
    4