What Makes A Fast Typist – iProgrammer

When you think about how important a keyboard still is in these days of voice and touch, it makes you wonder why keyboard skills aren’t part of a modern education. But what makes a good, fast typist? An analysis of 136 million keystrokes provides some answers.
Researchers from Aalto University in Finland and University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom have collected data about the typing behavior of 168,000 volunteers using an online typing test, which you can still take. The occupation of the subjects wasn’t determined, but as it is an online test they would all be computer users at some level.
As reported in a paper presented at the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, the first result is that the average speed was 52 words per minute which is suprisingly high given only 70% admitted to ever having taken a typing class. Of course compared to professional trained typists working at 60-90 words per minute it isn’t so fast but some users did manage 120 words per minute which is amazing.
speed
The data revealed that faster typists make fewer mistakes and that the fastest typists made use of “rollover” which is where the next key is pressed before the previous one is released. A big surprise is that there was no difference between those who had taken a typing course and those who hadn’t in terms of speed and errors – they simply used more or fewer fingers. It seems that the modern keyboard makes it easier to type using fewer than ten fingers and speed and accuracy don’t suffer – this wasn’t the case in the mechanical typewriter era. The ad-hoc techniques invented by users as they acquire keyboard skills aren’t inferior to the discipline of touch typing.
 
touchtype1
Typing as taught in 1950’s Britain
 
Data analysis revealed that there were eight types of typing style:
 
So what are we to do if we want to type better?
One of the researchers, Anna Feit, has some suggestions: 
If you want to make a start, take the typing test at the heart of this research: http://typingmaster.research.netlab.hut.fi/
home
Observations on Typing from 136 Million Keystrokes
Weak typing – the lost art of the keyboard
You Don’t Need To Touch Type To Go Fast 
Finland Dumps Handwriting In Favor Of Typing

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