Fingers and Thumbs

Keyboard Netbook

In a given day I switch back-and-forth between my netbook and my mobile phone many times and pay almost no attention to the switch in keyboard. Lots of people do the same thing.

Curiously, while typing on my computer keyboard, I use only my four fingers on each hand.  When I type on my phone it is exclusively done by my thumbs.

Keyboard Mobile

When texting became popular I remember having to “learn” with my thumbs to text quickly, despite the fact that I had been a proficient computer keyboard typist for years.  Interesting to note that the same task (typing) is completed on different devices using different parts of the hand and there seems to be very little carryover knowledge.

With the introduction of Swype style typing (which will surely be followed by new typing technologies in future generations), I wonder how many different styles of typing our brains will be seamlessly swapping between.


  1. Con – do you think that a person’s tendency on one typing medium, would be indiciative for another such medium, so that a hunt and peck typer on a computer keyboard would likely be a a single finger texter? I use the full array of fingers for typing on a keyboard and both thumbs for texting.

    On a not very related note, I find that the autofill feature that is used in my texting devices would be very helpful with a full keyboard. Why is that not more readily available?

  2. conalldempsey says:

    Mark –

    I was wondering about that very concept myself. I have a strange keyboard typing pattern, using most of the fingers on my right hand, but only the index finger on my left hand. I use both thumbs for texting. I don’t think there is very much correlation between the two, as each time you get a new device you tend to develop a new typing pattern (assuming the device is sufficiently different than what you’ve used before).

    I would like to try one of those “projected” keyboards to see if I type the same way as I do on physical keyboards.

    With respect to the auto-fill feature: We do see it cropping up a bit on websites like Google, Netflix, and others. In each case it speeds up your search by allowing you to see typical searches which are close to what you’re typing. I would not be surprised to see this sort of predictive text entry pervading additional programs soon. It has been a part of MS Excel for a long time, allowing one to fill data in spreadsheets more quickly.

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