The Fitaly One-Finger Keyboard

One-finger typing requires a different keyboard
The traditional QWERTY keyboard was designed for typing with ten fingers. Typically, a professional typist maintains fingers on the so-called home keys (the keys asdf for the left hand and jkl; for the right hand) and typing letters will either be on this home row or involve a move to some adjacent keys, one row below the home row, or one or two rows above. Consequently, there is no significant finger travel.

The situation is quite different on a pen computer or a computer with a touch screen. In these situations (and also on miniature keyboards found in some personal digital assistants), input is done with a single finger, or with an electronic pen or some equivalent device. The same finger has then to travel to successive keys one by one and this ends up involving considerable finger (or pen) travel.

Besides finger travel there is the issue of hand travel. For example, when typing transpose, the move between the letters a and n is too large to be accomplished just by finger travel. It requires a full movement of the hand, which is much less precise than a finger movement and significantly decreases input speed. The same is true for the transition ns and also sp and os.

For these reasons, the QWERTY layout is very inefficient for on-screen keyboards. It forces the pen to wide left-and-right sweeps like the head of an old dot-matrix printer. This inefficiency comes from having extrapolated such keyboards to a context where the requirements are quite different. The next pages will show that we can do much better with the FITALY keyboard – optimized for one-finger entry.

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