An Alternative Text Input Method
David Kumhyr & Dustin Kirkland - IBM Corporation

Intended Audience: Software Engineers, Managers, Technical Writers, IT Managers

Session Level: Intermediate

Pen computing devices have been relegated to the role of name and address organizers due to the difficulty of inputting text quickly and accurately. These devices are highly attractive and hold a great promise that is left largely unfulfilled. With Unicode a character encoding standard throughout the enterprise and enabling multi-locale support several of the major steps are in place to realize the promise of pervasive devices as real business work tools.

The last hurdle is overcoming the text input difficulties for portable devices. Many methods have been proposed for solving the difficulties however most fall short of delivering on the promise of pervasive computing. Most of the problems are related to how Western languages compose words from individual characters that have no intrinsic meaning by themselves. Individual characters are combined to form words, which convey the meaning.

What we are in need of to fulfill the promise of the PDA is an input method that is quick, natural and overcomes the limitations character based input and of limited processing power. This presentation introduces an alternative input methodology that leverages the standard input keyboard but enables a progression to word entry while being easy to learn, intuitive and natural. QWERsive is an idea that leverages the familiarity of common geographically mapped computer input mechanisms like qwerty-keyboards and the efficiency of stylus-based cursive handwriting. QWERsive may enable this promise of a common input method that supports Unicode and portable text entry in multiple locales.

The target audience is computing professionals interested in common input methods for enterprise and mobile computing.