CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Laurie P Dringus

Committee Member

Eric S Ackerman

Committee Member

Amon B Seagull

Abstract

Mobile computing devices are increasingly being utilized to support learning activities outside the traditional classroom environment. The text input capabilities of these devices represent a limiting factor for effective support of user-based interaction. The ability to perform continuous character selection and input to complete course exercises is becoming increasingly difficult as these devices become miniaturized to a point where traditional input and output methods are becoming less efficient for continuous text input.

This study investigated the design and performance of a prototype mobile text entry keyboard (MobileType) based on characteristics of the linguistic frequency of character occurrence and increasing key size to minimize visual search time and distance during character selection. The study was designed to compare efficiency, effectiveness, and learning effects of the MobileType to the QWERTY keyboard layouts while performing fixed phrase and course exercise text entry tasks in two separate evaluation sessions. A custom software application was developed for a tablet device to display the two keyboard interfaces and capture text entry interaction and timing information.

The results of this study indicated the QWERTY text entry interface performed faster in terms of efficiency, while the MobileType interface performed better in terms of effectiveness. In addition, there was an observable increase in the efficiency of the MobileType interface between the two task sessions. The results indicated that the MobileType interface was readily learnable relating to learning effect. Future research is recommended to establish if the performance of the MobileType interface could be increased with further participant familiarization after completing multiple sessions, which would validate the design of MobileType as a possible alternative to the QWERTY text entry interface for mobile devices.

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