Could Touchscreen Typing Speeds Leave Keyboards in the Dust?

A large-scale study into mobile typing speeds has shown that the gap between typing speeds on touchscreens and physical keyboards is rapidly closing. 


The study recorded the typing speeds of given sentences on mobile devices of over 37,000 participants of all ages from around the world. They discovered that, when typing with two thumbs, the words per minute on average achieved was a mere 25% slower than the results to a similar study using physical keyboards. 


The authors of the study refer to the difference in speed as the “typing gap”, and it is especially noteworthy when you consider the difference between generations. Those aged between 10 and 19 were found to be about 10 words-per-minute faster than those in their 40s. 


Perhaps even more impressive is when you consider that young people are given no formal training using touchscreens, and that the motor skills needed for their quick touchscreen typing are learnt independently.


Touchscreens: The Future?


It came as no surprise to the researchers to see this generational gap. Participants reported spending about six hours a day tapping on their touchscreen devices, and this could easily explain the development of touchscreen typing skills in young people, who spend more time communicating over social media.


As people become better at touchscreen typing and these skills become more intuitive, could touchscreen devices one day leave physical keyboards an ancient relic of the past? The uptake of touchscreens has happened exponentially fast in many applications that extend far beyond just smartphones. The technology has also developed past the simple one-touch = one mouse click; these devices are now capable of supporting multi-touch gestures, giving them an increased variety of uses.


More Applications than Ever


Touchscreens have existed for over two decades, but the technology didn’t really become mainstream in our lives until the introduction of the iPhone in 2007. And the technology has developed to become an essential feature in our lives. 


Whether it’s on their smartphones or on video walls, people interact with touchscreens every day. Touchscreen kiosks are more common than ever and are impacting industries globally such as dining, retail, hospitality and healthcare. 


Retailers are adopting touchscreen systems in their physical stores to enhance customer interaction, allowing them to browse product offerings and locate specific stores within a larger complex. The idea of self-service is also gaining momentum, and touchscreens are being used to facilitate this with food-ordering and self-checkout kiosks.


Consumers have begun to expect touchscreens as a minimum requirement, and this is only likely to continue. Consider young children and their instinctive reaction to touch any screen they encounter – the technology is an expectation. As they age and become the next generation of consumers, touch technology will be integral in their lives, and businesses not utilising touchscreens could find themselves becoming obsolete. 


If you’d like to find out more about how touchscreens are leading the way, we would be more than happy to talk to you – don’t hesitate to contact us today.