Typing on Midair Virtual Keyboards: Exploring Visual Designs and Interaction Styles

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Typing on Midair Virtual Keyboards: Exploring Visual Designs and Interaction Styles

Jiban Adhikary and Keith Vertanen

Human-Computer Interaction -- INTERACT, 2021.

Entering text in virtual environments can be challenging, especially without auxiliary input devices. We investigate typing on a QWERTY keyboard rendered in virtual reality. Our system visualizes users' hands in the virtual environment, allowing typing on an auto-correcting midair keyboard. It supports input via the index fingers of one or both hands. We compare two keyboard designs: a normal QWERTY layout and a split layout. We found users typed at around 16 words-per-minute using one or both hands on the normal layout, and about 15 words-per-minute using both hands on the split layout. Users had a corrected error rate below 2% in all cases. To explore midair typing with limited or no visual feedback, we had users type on an invisible keyboard. Users typed on this keyboard at 11 words-per-minute at an error rate of 3.3% despite the keyboard providing almost no visual feedback.

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