A new study found that the gap between smartphone texting and keyboard typing speeds is getting smaller. The fastest typing on a touchscreen came from a user who was able to type 85 words per minute.
Texting Vs Typing
For what researchers are calling the first and biggest study to look into smartphone users’ typing behavior, 37,370 people were subjected to a typing test and the results of which were then compared to a desktop typing test which had 168,000 participants.
Those who typed on mobile yielded an average of 38 words per minute which is only 25 percent less than the 51 words per minute average of those who typed on keyboards. Interestingly, those who typed on mobile also had a very low error rate of 2.3 percent, but this is something that researchers are attributing to autocomplete and predictive text.
This difference between typing on a smartphone or on a keyboard is called a “typing gap,” and the results show that it is getting smaller and in the future might even be closed. This is because while it is still faster to type on a keyboard, the number of people who can do it is decreasing while the number of fast texters are increasing.
Specifically, young people aged 10 to 19 were the fastest smartphone texters, clocking in an average of 40 words per minute, followed by 20- to 29-year-olds with 37 words per minute, then older millennials aged 30 to 39 years old who typed 32 words per minute. According to researchers, it is possible that this age difference in typing speeds may be because the fastest texters knew smartphones as their first input device.
Younger People Text Less
“We are seeing a young generation that has always used touchscreen devices, and the difference to older generations that may have used devices longer, but different types, is staggering,” said Antti Oulasvirta of Aalto University.
That said, as fast as they type, results also show that the 10-19 age group texts less than the older groups. According to researchers, it is possible that this is because the platforms that they often use such as TikTok and Snapchat are mostly visual, while the platforms older millennials often use such as Facebook and Twitter are more text-based.
Naturally, using two thumbs makes typing on mobile faster, and so do features such as autocorrect or predictive texting. However, autocorrect makes for faster typing because often, the user also spends time choosing from the predicted words before continuing to type, thereby adding to their time.
When it comes to physical keyboards, people are already very used to QWERTY, but there are other keyboard formats that can make typing faster and more efficient.