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IBM Research - Almaden

Shorthand Aided Rapid Keyboarding


Shorthand Aided Rapid Keyboarding is an advanced pen-based text input method for mobile devices. It combines novel pattern recognition technology with a stylus keyboard. A new user may trace the letters on the keyboard to enter a word. Over time one may remember some or parts of the patterns and speed up the text writing. A video demo is available. Shorthand Aided Rapid Keyboarding has three advantages compared to stylus keyboards, long-hand writing, and traditional shorthand writing:

  • More fluid, smooth, and pleasant interaction than tapping on stylus keyboards
  • Faster and more efficient than long-hand alphabetical writing
  • Easier to learn and more robust than traditional shorthand writing systems. Gradual progress from tracing to gesturing.

Text input is a skill-based process, so it will take some time to become proficient with Shorthand Aided Rapid Keyboarding. However, it will require far less learning than touch-typing on keyboards.

You can download and try Shorthand Aided Rapid Keyboarding.

How does it work?
Shorthand Aided Rapid Keyboarding takes advantage of the expressive jotting capabilities in pen-based computing devices. It enables the user to write text in "sokgraphs," a form of shorthand defined on a stylus keyboard as a graph. A sokgraph is the trajectory of a word defined on a stylus keyboard layout, preferably ATOMIK. Unlike traditional shorthand systems, which require much learning before using them, the user of Shorthand Aided Rapid Keyboarding will first trace the letters of a word on the stylus keyboard. The pen trace is displayed to the user by transient digital ink and morphed to a template sokgraph. Each trial of tracing is also a trial of learning the sokgraph. Over time, the pattern of the sokgraph builds up in the user's memory so the production of the trace becomes partly visually guided and partly memory-recall driven. As the contribution of pattern recall or open-loop action increases, the userís dependence on visual guidance will decrease. Eventually, a user may completely remember the sokgraph and make the gesture based primarily on memory recall. The stylus keyboard in Shorthand Aided Rapid Keyboarding works as a "training wheel" towards sokgraph gesturing. It is also a mnemonic device that helps the user remember the sokgraphs.

Shorthand Aided Rapid Keyboarding uses novel pattern recognition methods to match the user's input to a large lexicon of words. Special algorithms, feedback mechanisms, and interface techniques are developed to support users' gradual transition from visually-guided tracing on keyboard to recall-driven gesturing.

Shorthand Aided Rapid Keyboarding Image

For information on the research behind the design and development of Shorthand Aided Rapid Keyboarding, please see the following:

  • Zhai, S., Kristensson, P-O., "Shorthand Writing on Stylus Keyboard". Proc of CHI 2003 - ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. pp 97-104.
  • Kristensson, P-O., Zhai, S., Shorthand Aided Rapid Keyboarding2: A Large Vocabulary Shorthand Writing System for Pen-based Computers, Proc. ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, Oct 24-27, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  • Zhai, S., Kristensson, P-O, Smith, B.A., In search of effective text interfaces for off the desktop computing, Interacting with Computers, Vol.16, in press.

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