5 Pages

Evaluation of a Text Entry Method for Mobile Devices

While handheld devices such as cell phones and PDAs continue to proliferate, there is still debate over what methods are best for user interaction with these devices. Text entry, an important part of this interaction, becomes increasingly complex as devices shrink in size. This study tested a PDA text entry method that used a thumbwheel. The character set, which included letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and a space, was implemented as a continuous loop. Turning the wheel upwards or downwards displayed different characters on the screen, and clicking the wheel selected a character. A "snap-to-home" feature was also tested. Thumbwheel-based text entry methods are a viable alternative to keypad, stylus, and voice input on ultra-small mobile devices.