Text Entry Systems: Mobility, Accessibility

Reviewed by Major Keary

Text Entry Systems, which has the subtitle, Mobility, Accessibility, Universality, is a seminal work that brings together a number of experts in various aspects of text entry systems and related disciplines.

On one level it deals with three fields:

  • mobile devices of various kinds that are now ubiquitous and have brought with them non-conventional methods of text entry;
  • alternative text input systems (speech-to-text, handwriting recognition, pen-based computing, and virtual keyboards); and
  • the issue of universal access (needs of the very young, the elderly, and the physically or visually impaired).

On a second level it deals with language variations. Dealing with languages other than those that employ a Latin alphabet used to be something of a sideshow, but is now a mainstream issue.

Another vector of change discussed is the development of word prediction, word completion, phrase completion, and other accelerating techniques. Much of the work in that field began with research associated with data compression.

Each chapter is a stand-alone 'paper' with its own list of references. Some, such as Jacob Wobbrock's Measures of Text Entry Performance, focus on algorithms and make much use of mathematical notation. Others, such as Trewin and Arnott's Text Entry When Movement is Impaired, don't require the reader to have any special background or knowledge.

The discussions of language variations will be of particular interest to anyone working with, or studying, the writing systems of East Asia, the Indian sub-continent, or the Middle East.

The book is organised in four parts. The first part, Foundations, contains papers on an historical overview of consumer text entry, language models for text entry, measures of text entry performance, and evaluation of text entry techniques.

The second part covers entry modalities and devices (including the utilisation of eye tracking for text entry).

Part three discusses language variations, and part four is about universal accessibility.

An important resource for teachers and students of computer science, software and hardware engineers, those working in computational linguistics, and anyone who has an interest in the design of text entry systems. It provides insights into the methods, and the measurement of effectiveness, of current systems.

I. Scott MacKenzie and Kumiko Tanaka-Ishii, eds.: Text Entry Systems: Mobility, Accessibility
ISBN 978-0-12-373591-1
Published by Morgan Kaufmann, 332 pp., RRP AU$ 90.00

This title is available direct from the Australian distributor, Elsevier Australia Customer Service, tel. 1800 263 951, fax 02 9517 2249, or Email: customerserviceau@elsevier.com.


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