Soft Keyboards for the Kannada Language: A Case Study of Searching Library OPACs for Vernacular Content through Mobile Phones


Abstract

Keyboards are the dominant Input Method Editors (IMEs) used for data input into computers. With the rise of mobile devices with touchscreen technologies, soft keyboards, also called 'on screen' or virtual keyboards, have become popular. The keyboard layout decides the data entry rate, user friendliness, and accuracy of data input. This study assesses ten soft keyboards in the Kannada language with respect to their utility for interaction with OPAC. EazyType Kannada and Google Keyboard were found to be better than others in terms of number of keystrokes required to input data. Anova and Standard deviation techniques were used to analyse the data. This study has an implication for users of OPAC in deciding the keyboard to be used on their mobile devices.

Keywords

Soft Keyboards, Onscreen Keyboards, Mobile Devices, Input Method Editors (IMEs), OPACs, Keyboard Layouts, Bibliographic Data Entry.

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