Enhancing the Composition Task in Text Entry Studies: Eliciting Difficult Text and Improving Error Rate Calculation

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Enhancing the Composition Task in Text Entry Studies: Eliciting Difficult Text and Improving Error Rate Calculation

Dylan Gaines and Per Ola Kristensson and Keith Vertanen

CHI '21: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2021 (to appear).

Participants in text entry studies usually copy phrases or compose novel messages. A composition task mimics actual user behavior and can allow researchers to better understand how a system might perform in reality. A problem with composition is that participants may gravitate towards writing simple text, that is, text containing only common words. Such simple text is insufficient to explore all factors governing a text entry method, such as its error correction features. We contribute to enhancing composition tasks in two ways. First, we show participants can modulate the difficulty of their compositions based on simple instructions. While it took more time to compose difficult messages, they were longer, had more difficult words, and resulted in more use of error correction features. Second, we compare two methods for obtaining a participant's intended text, comparing both methods with a previously proposed crowdsourced judging procedure. We found participant-supplied references were more accurate.

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