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I have a medium size (4") smartphone that I find myself increasingly using for long bursts of typing. I am finding it extremely hard to use more than two fingers consistently and two finger typing gets tiring pretty quickly.

  • Are there any grips and techniques that help improve typing speed?

  • What is the optimal number of fingers to be used on such screen sizes?

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I use both thumbs for typing. I never judged my speed. But I am good and with 80-90% accuracy. –  articlestack Jul 31 '13 at 11:21
    
Depends on how you type. Utilizing SwiftKey is very different to using Swype. I stick to Swype, fastest way to type while driving :P –  Muz Jul 31 '13 at 13:29
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@Muz A lot of states are making typing while driving illegal; even if your state hasn't, it's very dangerous no matter what method you are using. (If you are a passenger typing, obviously ignore my comment.) –  tcrosley Jul 31 '13 at 15:30
    
Use qwerty keyboard. Hold your phone horizontal. So keyboard can cover maximum screen. Use both thumbs to type. –  articlestack May 22 at 1:51
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3 Answers 3

Swype or similar (such as TouchKey, which I prefer over Swype) can improve your speed by 300-400% but you will have to go through the learning phase where you will be slower at first.

I didn't think it would help me but I stuck with it as a friend said it would help, and I am now so much faster. I can move my thumb or finger almost as fast as I can think the letters, and in some cases it is faster than typing on a proper keyboard.

They also cope with mistyping, and learn your typical movements, as well as analysing context to guide choice of next word.

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Can you provide a URL for TouchKey? Swype I found, there's a lot of ambiguous results on a search for TouchKey. Thanks. –  Dennis S. Jul 31 '13 at 16:11
    
I love SwiftKey. Often I just have to type the first letter in each word because it recognizes patterns and learns my typical sentences. It also has support for multiple languages without switching, which is great for non-english that occationally writes english words. –  awe Aug 1 '13 at 13:04
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As funny as it sounds, after a long time of trying various techniques on a small touchscreen, I have found that I type the best by using just one finger :) That's after accounting for deleting typos/mis-hits that result from using multiple fingers. This effect is even more pronounced when writing on a moving vehicle. The device simply shakes too much for any accuracy.

Of course, this depends on the on-screen keyboard design on a given device. If the keyboard "buttons" are larger, it will be easier to write accurately. There are also some alternative typing methods, such as buttons that you press and then drag to get a given character within that button. Say, button 1 contains A, B, C, D, button 2 contains E, F, G, H, and so on. In theory, you can use multiple fingers more effectively and reliably, after some practice.

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I use both an iPod Touch and a Kindle Fire. On both devices, typing is most efficient for me when I hold the device in a way that lets both thumbs have easy access to the keyboard. For the iPod Touch, that's landscape mode, for the Kindle Fire it is portrait. I almost link my fingers around the back of the device and cradle the corners in the palms of my hands. That lets both thumbs be free to move easily around the keyboard, and is the best I've come up with so far.

The only other speedup I've found is to pay attention to what comes up when I long-hold a key. Once I learned to watch for that, I save a lot of time not switching to alternate keyboards for punctuation, numbers, and letters with diacritics.

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