An empirical investigation into text input methods for interactive digital television applications

Aurora Barrero, David Melendi, Xabiel G. Pañeda, Roberto García, Sergio Cabrero. International Journal on Human-Computer Interaction. Taylor & Francis.

Nowadays there is a huge market emerging in the interactive digital TV realm. In this context, we need new and effective methods of user interaction as the main interaction device is still the classical remote control. Remote controls are especially problematic when it comes to writing text, something needed in most applications. In order to find effective methods of text entry with remote controls, we have carried out an empirical investigation that is presented in this paper. We analyse several methods by performing experiments with a heterogeneous set of real users in an incremental process based on several sequential tasks. We analyse entry speeds, error rates, learning profiles and subjective impressions, but taking into account the particular characteristics of the users. Our results show, for instance, that Multitap is a good method for simple texts. It is between 12% and 34% faster than the fastest virtual keyboard, depending on the age of the user. Nevertheless, when complex texts need to be written, virtual keyboards present the same or even better writing speeds (QWERTY is 13% faster) and with significant lower error rates (Multitap is 347% worse than QWERTY). We consider that our results are very interesting for researchers, designers of TV applications and hardware vendors.