Defence of dissertation in the field of Networking Economics, M.Sc. (Tech.) Anna Maria Feit
The title of thesis is “Assignment Problems for Optimizing Text Input”
Reading out the first letters on a desktop keyboard, it says “QWERTY”. The same on the keyboard of a mobile phone, a car, or a virtual reality game. However, the way we select these letters is drastically different in each of these scenarios; one might use a single finger or many, a rotary control or arrow buttons, rest the arm comfortably on a table or hold it up in the air. Many researchers have challenged using the same QWERTY keyboard on any computing device. Given the distribution of letters in English and the way of selecting them, they have used optimization methods to compute the best arrangement of the keys that allows to type fastest.
This dissertation goes a step further and proposes new techniques for optimizing keyboards and completely novel text input methods (e.g. using hand gestures in mid-air) not only for improving their performance but also to make them more ergo-nomic and easier to learn. The empirical studies conducted for developing these techniques, also advance the understanding of human performance and modern typing behavior. As one of the first, the dissertation studies those computer users that never took a formal typing course. Surprisingly, it found that typing speed is not necessarily related to the number of fingers used, but influenced by other factors such as visual attention on the typed text, consistent use of fingers, and paralleliza-tion of movements. This allows users to type fast even with just six or fewer fingers.
On top of that, the work presented in this dissertation was applied in the develop-ment of a new French keyboard standard in collaboration with the French national organization for standardization, which influences the life of millions of people.
Opponent: Dr. Shumin Zhai, Google Inc., United States
Custos: Professor Antti Oulasvirta, Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering, Department of Communications and Networking.