Enhancing Older Adults’ Gesture Typing Experience Using the T9 Keyboard on Small Touchscreen Devices

Figure that shows the keystrokes for typing the word "MOON" using the T9 with enhanced key 1 keyboard, the swipe gesture starts from key 6 to key 1, then to key 6, and finally back to key 1.


Older adults increasingly adopt small-screen devices, but limited motor dexterity hinders their ability to type effectively. While a 9-key (T9) keyboard allocates larger space to each key, it is shared by multiple consecutive letters. Consequently, users must interrupt their gestures when typing consecutive letters, leading to inefficiencies and poor user experience. Thus, we proposed a novel keyboard that leverages the currently unused key 1 to duplicate letters from the previous key, allowing the entry of consecutive letters without interruptions. A user study with 12 older adults showed that it significantly outperformed the T9 with wiggle gesture in typing speed, KSPC, insertion errors, and deletes per word while achieving comparable performance as the conventional T9. Repeating the typing tasks with 12 young adults found that the advantages of the novel T9 were consistent or enhanced. We also provide error analysis and design considerations for improving gesture typing on T9 for older adults.

The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2023