An (arXiv) paper describing our study can be downloaded here.


Sherry Ruan, Jacob O. Wobbrock, Kenny Liou, Andrew Ng, James Landay

ACM Classification Keywords

H.5.2. User Interfaces: Voice I/O.

Author Keywords

Mobile text entry; speech input; continuous speech recognition; text input; mobile devices; smartphones.


With laptops and desktops, the dominant method of text entry is the full-size keyboard; now with the ubiquity of mobile devices like smartphones, two new widely used methods have emerged: miniature touch screen keyboards and speech-based dictation. It is currently unknown how these two modern methods compare. We therefore evaluated the text entry performance of both methods in English and in Mandarin Chinese on a mobile smartphone. In the speech input case, our speech recognition system gave an initial transcription, and then recognition errors could be corrected using either speech again or the smartphone keyboard. We found that with speech recognition, the English input rate was 3.0x faster, and the Mandarin Chinese input rate 2.8x faster, than a state-of-the-art miniature smartphone keyboard. Further, with speech, the English error rate was 20.4% lower, and Mandarin error rate 63.4% lower, than the keyboard. Our experiment was carried out using Deep Speech 2, a deep learning-based speech recognition system, and the built-in Qwerty or Pinyin (Mandarin) Apple iOS keyboards. These results show that a significant shift from typing to speech might be imminent and impactful. Further research to develop effective speech interfaces is warranted.