Adaptation tricks: people have learned to type on touchscreens at the speed of a typewriter

A team of researchers from the Finnish Aalto University, the University of Cambridge in the UK and the Swiss ETH Zürich analyzed how humanity is coping with the modern challenge of typing on touch screens. Previously, it was naturally believed that this method is several times less convenient and fast than using a conventional keyboard with physical buttons. But special tests showed that in 2019 the difference became symbolic.

Scientists conducted online tests in which 37, 000 people from 160 countries took part (you can also take them and find out your typing speed). Those who type on a smartphone with one finger showed a typing rate of 29 words per minute (wpm). Those who know how to type text with two fingers on the tablet give out 38 svm. For comparison, the average typing speed on a keypad is 52 svm.

There were a few unique ones that showed the pace of cursive writing on the touchscreen at 85 svm! Teenagers, as active users of social networks and instant messengers, type at a speed of 40 svm. Pensioners find it difficult to obtain 26 sms, for adults the norm is closer to 29 sms. Interestingly, when using autocorrect, the speed increases by 9 svm, but the word prediction technology, on the contrary, decreases the rate by 2 svm because of the need to spend time choosing options.

Scientists named the abundance of gadgets in the life of modern people as one of the reasons for the growth in the speed of typing on touchscreens. The owner of the smartphone devotes at least 6 hours a day to it, while using physical tools for data entry less and less. The whole system of transferring thoughts into textual form is changing, and handwritten text, probably, may soon disappear altogether.