Design and Evaluation of Chord Keyboard for Tablet Computer Manipulation

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    The major difference between a tablet computer and laptop is the drawing pad. Reducing the components and size of a tablet computer is surely meant to make users feel more comfortable when holding it. The focus of this research lies on the integration between chord keyboard and touch pen in tablet computers. The chord keyboard is located on upper side of the tablet computer which must be suitable for tablet computer users. The right postures for operating a tablet computer include the position of wrist and fingers, scope of the chord keyboard. On the other hand, the encoding of the chord keyboard is as follows: single-handed op- eration and using the left hand to hold and operate the chord keyboard. Other possible encodings were also tested in order to find out which encoding provides the fastest typing speed with the least amount of errors. Furthermore, this study is aimed to provide a reference for designing tablet computers in the future. The concrete conclusion of this research is stated as follows: the best holding method is operating with fingers positioned on the right side and thumb on the upper side. As for the holding stability and prevention of a typo, the thumb position is placed on the space bar. The individual movement areas of the four fingers are smaller, hence merely placing one to two buttons. This re- search applies half-QWERTY, BAT and ten-key as chord encodings to evaluate typing speed and errors. The typing positions are distributed on the following positions: tablet computer's upper side of the chord keyboard, touch pen's button, and virtual button of tablet computer's window. According to the evaluation, it is found that the button with the fewest encodings have the best typing efficiency. On the other hand, the usage of button on the touch pen is much more effective than the virtual button on the screen.