From the catholic bears / wood interface school of research

People type faster on ‘real’ keyboards than on an iPad touchscreen.

While looking at formulae gives me a mild statistical horn (although I’m not sure if mild horn can be measured - perhaps it should be, HEY I KNOW WHAT, let’s start a research project. But not too much mind. Just mild.), surely this is a case of people/organisations with too much money and not enough real work to do:

For the followup, I think they might discover that typing in gloves is good for maintaining body temperature, but not good for accuracy.

WTF is the point of a(n iPad) keyboard test without punctuation? Have I missed a memo somewhere that unpunctuated is the new black?

Yours - avoiding work, chores, and well, reality, let’s face it. Hello virtual world full of strange sobriquets and pith-taking ob-serv-ay-shuns.

What? You think we cannot extrapolate to the general population useful information acquired by testing the dexterity (and by inference, to some degree the intelligence) of sixteen protadults from Wichita State University? Even after applying to our laboratory findings a set of statistical techniques neither available to nor comprehensible by the ordinary citizen, thereby proving our professional competence?

I mean, it’s research, man.


Well, yes. Have you not communicated with anyone under the age of 25 recently? Not only do they avoid punctuation in typing, they avoid it while speak. Life is just one stream of consciousness spewed constantly into the quite spaces left between commercials and overproduced audio tracks from reality TV.

This is what happens when one is forced to contemplate spending the next several hours with “the siblings in-law” and their uncontrolled and restrained spawn.


I think in my case I’m a very heavy typist, so my punctuation and shift keys are generally the first to die on me. (When I was working on the degrees, I’d go through at least one keyboard a semester. Now that I buy better quality ones and am training myself to not whack the keys, I’m a lot better about not wearing out keyboards.)

You have my sympathies…

I commiserate; I not only understand your sorrow, I share it.


I can talk on a phone faster than I can text on it.

Now how can I cash in on that knowledge in disguise of yet another “study”…

You’ll have your work cut out, trying to convince the rest of the world that they’re as clever as you.

I like that one of the “interesting comments” from a participant is the user helpfully raising the point that the netbook didn’t have a touch screen and he could actually feel the buttons moving.


On a related note, the University of Pigfender released a similar study recently:

Sample group:1

Test conditions: The iPad bolted to a table in a large Tescos supermarket and a small Sony netbook device chained next to it.

Methodology: The participant was required to type a number of familiar phrases of his own choosing and comment back on whether he thought the iPad keyboard was useable. The participant chose a variety of phrases, including…
“This, I feel, is a worthwhile test. Or is it? Can I or can’t I use this keyboard?”
“touchy-feely touchy feely”; and
“I like sausages”

Summary output:In typing the phrases on a netbook, the phrases were duplicated correctly. On the iPad there were missing letters, wrong letters and substantial delays whilst ‘looking’ for punctuation marks.

Conclusion:The participant left having bought a jar of organic peanut butter and some cat bicsuits.

Put the iPads in bars in place of those tabletop video games and charge an “hourly” fee.

The new Internet Pub

The discussion section was remarkably short and provided little analysis of the results in light of the literature. Although mentioned in passing, it would seem that lack of experience with the iPad would greatly affect both participant times and accuracy. Further, there appears to be no adjustment of alpha levels to account for the number of statistical analyses conducted. But I don’t want to whinge, so I’m going to find something charitable to say about the study…

…give me a minute…

OK. Look. It clearly represents “real world” use since, as Jaysen pointed out, young people these days use neither punctuation nor capitalisation. Further, as a lecturer and tutor, I think it a wonderful idea to let undergraduate students devise their own research and publish it online. Brilliant! It may, perhaps, have added still more to their learning if they experienced the challenge of responding to thoughtful reviewer feedback prior to publication.