The new Flynn effect?

People can type almost as fast on a phone screen as they do on a computer keyboard, suggests a study.

Average typing speeds on mobiles are now 38 words per minute (wpm) compared to about 52 on a standard PC keyboard.

The gap was narrower among people aged 10-19 who averaged about 10wpm more than older users, it found.

The amount of time that people spend using their phones every day has honed typing skills, said the team that carried out the work…

The fastest phone typist hit a speed of 85wpm, the study found.

Oh, and this:

Phone speeds were helped by auto-correct systems but hindered by other aids that seek to predict what word a person had begun to type.

The time it took people to work out whether a predicted word was correct ended up slowing them down, it found.

By contrast, auto-correct systems that eliminated the need for a few thumb strokes helped people finish messages faster.

Here is the article, via Michelle Dawson.


I think this here is the key missing piece:

"While one can type much faster on a physical keyboard, up to 100 wpm, the proportion of people who actually reach that is decreasing."

In other words, the people of today only type a little slower on smart phones than the average typist can reach today on a regular keyboard.

Typing is a vanishing skill. I took two years of typing in high school in 1981 and 1982. At the end of the second class, electric typewriters, I could easily beat 90 wpm and most of my classmates were above 70, and the class was full every year. On desktop keyboard, I can still easily do 60 wpm for long stretches of time. I don't use a smart phone keyboard often, and am probably limited to about 20 wpm.

Smart phone typing is much harder. Numbers are a separate mode as are emojis and foreign language which will bring the wpm down. Finding the appropriate emoji is a skill I find lacking in the boomer generation.

Funny, I find that using appropriate words instead of a cartoon face to be a skill lacking in the younger generations.

Cavemen used emojis. I like to think modern people can do better.

Exactly. I took typing before that, and I remember doing 65 wpm on a manual (thank you typing class + piano lessons). With electrics, that's easy - but you really have to practice and be systematic about using the right finger for each key. And without typing class, I don't think a lot of people do that anymore.

Why type when you your phone will transcribe what you say?
I guess if you're in a place where you can't talk outloud and have to type.

Ask Trump why you don't want your phone to transcribe what you say.

Voice to text seems to be getting worse. I got a bump down when I went from android to an iphone, and instead of improving, iphone seems to be getting worse over time.

That might reflect Apple's choices rather than TTS. Progress in TTS research has, like everything else, benefited greatly from neural nets, and improves every year. However, Apple has made a major investment into 'differential privacy' and 'federated learning' to avoid collecting data from users; few others do it because you get worse results. It would not be surprising if Apple has in fact been getting worse over time as it switches over, and is simply ramming it down users' throats the way it rammed through the switch from Google Maps to the then-far-inferior Apple Maps.

How do people type on small surfaces? Do they use all ten fingers? Can they touch type?

Often it's two thumbs.

On a swipe keyboard you can use one finger, tracing out letters close enough to the word you want rather than actual typing.

"People can type almost as fast on a phone screen as they do on a computer keyboard......Average typing speeds on mobiles are now 38 words per minute (wpm) compared to about 52 on a standard PC keyboard."

I doubt seriously someone says 38 is almost the same as 52 dollars. If this was the monthly bill of a smartphone contract, a lot of people would say 38 is much lower than 52, ~1/4 less. Same for waiting in a restaurant for your food, 38 minutes is much less than 52 minutes...1 hour to be served, catastrophic.

Apparently, we're much less sensitive to typed words per minute. It's not that important, therefore 38 is close to 52, who cares? =)

73% is higher than I would have expected.

We are at peak typing. Within a decade, typing will be much rarer.

One doesn't type a 30 page report on a small screen, so the comparison is pointless. That's not to say that typing on a small screen isn't an important development, for it may have the effect of encouraging brevity in writing. But is it brevity or superficial?

The above comment was obviously written on rayward's i-Watch.

"People can type almost as fast on a phone screen as they do on a computer keyboard": for some of us that isn't much of a challenge.

So if I can run a mile in 5 and 1/2 minutes, I'm almost as fast as someone who can run a mile in 4 minutes? Pshaw!

I type about 75 wpm, and obviously I'm not looking at the keyboard (except for some numbers or punctuation). I do a lot of work at a computer. Doing programming, or technical work, you can't rely on autocorrect, because the variable names (or words) are not in the dictionary. You also can't properly revise paragraphs on a small screen.
4 in 10 Americans can't do addition and subtraction correctly with a calculator. . So I hope the design gurus don't take the fact that most people are content to mash their greasy thumbs on their touchscreens, and couldn't do much better with better tools, and conclude from that that they shouldn't make proper keyboards for people who are going to write with competence.

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