Ducking Autocorrect

by George Lovell | | 0 comments

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We are getting better at typing on our smartphones.

Our average typing speed on a phone is now 38 words per minute compared to 52 on a PC or laptop.

The gap is more narrow for young people, who can type about 10 words per minute more than older people.

The increased amount of time that we spend on smartphones has made us more efficient at typing. On average, millennials (born 1981 - 1996) spend 48 minutes per day texting, while baby boomers (born 1946 - 1964) spend 30 minutes per day.

Autocorrect has allowed us to type much more quickly, by correcting mishits and compensating for our inability to spell. Interestingly, studies have shown that predictive text actually slows us down. Participants that used autocorrect scored 43 words per minute, compared to 35 using predictive text, and 33 using no assistance.

This is because it takes longer to look at a word, assess whether or not it's the word that we want, and the tap it, than it does to just type it. We also tend to only use predictive text for longer words, which take more effort to spell and type.

Where it does come in handy is when typing phrases that we use frequently. Our phones keep a record of our typing habits, so if we use the same phrases often, we can just tap-tap-tap to finish a sentence. Your keyboard will remember all your corrections, and even when you ignore a correction, so that it can better-match words to similar sentences in the future. It continuously adapts to your typing habits. Therefore, it may be a feature that only pays off in certain situations, or when used regularly.

Thanks for reading!

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