Publication statistics

Pub. period:1999-2012
Pub. count:8
Number of co-authors:11


Number of publications with 3 favourite co-authors:

Wendy S. Ark:
Xiaojun Bi:
Eser Kandogan:



Productive colleagues

Barton A. Smith's 3 most productive colleagues in number of publications:

Shumin Zhai:67
Ted Selker:37
Paul P. Maglio:25

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Barton A. Smith


Publications by Barton A. Smith (bibliography)

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Bi, Xiaojun, Smith, Barton A. and Zhai, Shumin (2012): Multilingual Touchscreen Keyboard Design and Optimization. In Eminds International Journal of Human Computer Interaction, 27 (4) pp. 352-382. Available online

A keyboard design, once adopted, tends to have a long-lasting and worldwide impact on daily user experience. There is a substantial body of research on touch-screen stylus keyboard optimization. Most of it has focused on English only. Applying rigorous mathematical optimization methods and addressing diacritic character design issues, this article expands this body of work to French, Spanish, German, and Chinese. More important and counter to the intuition that optimization by nature is necessarily specific to each language, this article demonstrates that it is possible to find common layouts that are highly optimized across multiple languages for stylus (or single finger) typing. We first obtained a layout that is highly optimized for both English and French input. We then obtained a layout that is optimized for English, French, Spanish, German, and Chinese pinyin simultaneously, reducing its stylus travel distance to about half of QWERTY's for all of the five languages. In comparison to QWERTY's 3.31, 3.51, 3.7, 3.26, and 3.85 keys of movement for English, French, Spanish, German, and Chinese, respectively, the optimized multilingual layout has an average travel distance of 1.88, 1.86, 1.91, 1.77, and 1.68 keys, correspondingly. Applying Fitts's law with parameters validated by a word tapping experiment, we show that these multilingual keyboards also significantly reduce text input time for multiple languages over the standard QWERTY for experienced users. In comparison to layouts individually optimized for each language, which are also obtained in this article, simultaneously optimizing for multiple languages caused only a minor performance degradation for each language. This surprising result could help to reduce the burden of multilingual users having to switch and learn new layouts for different languages. In addition, we also present and analyze multiple ways of incorporating diacritic characters on multilingual keyboards. Taken together, the present work provides a quantitative foundation for the understanding and designing of multilingual touch-screen keyboards.

© All rights reserved Bi et al. and/or Universidad de Oviedo

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Bi, Xiaojun, Smith, Barton A. and Zhai, Shumin (2010): Quasi-qwerty soft keyboard optimization. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2010 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2010. pp. 283-286. Available online

It has been well understood that optimized soft keyboard layouts improve motor movement efficiency over the standard Qwerty layouts, but have the drawback of long initial visual search time for novice users. To ease the initial searching time on optimized soft keyboards, we explored "Quasi-Qwerty optimization" so that the resulting layouts are close to Qwerty. Our results show that a middle ground between the optimized but new, and the familiar (Qwerty) but inefficient does exist. We show that by allowing letters to move at most one step (key) away from their original positions on Qwerty in an optimization process, one can achieve about half of what free optimization could gain in movement efficiency. An experiment shows that due to users' familiarity with Qwerty, a layout with quasi Qwerty optimization could significantly reduce novice user's visual search time to a level between those of Qwerty and a freely optimized layout. The results in this work provide designers with a new quantitative understanding of the soft keyboard design space.

© All rights reserved Bi et al. and/or their publisher

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Zhai, Shumin, Kristensson, Per-Ola and Smith, Barton A. (2005): In search of effective text input interfaces for off the desktop computing. In Interacting with Computers, 17 (3) pp. 229-250. Available online

It is generally recognized that today's frontier of HCI research lies beyond the traditional desktop computers whose GUI interfaces were built on the foundation of display -- pointing device -- full keyboard. Many interface challenges arise without such a physical UI foundation. Text writing -- ranging from entering URLs and search queries, filling forms, typing commands, to taking notes and writing emails and chat messages -- is one of the hard problems awaiting for solutions in off-desktop computing. This paper summarizes and synthesizes a research program on this topic at the IBM Almaden Research Center. It analyzes various dimensions that constitute a good text input interface; briefly reviews related literature; discusses the evaluation methodology issues of text input; presents the major ideas and results of two systems, ATOMIK and SHARK; and points out current and future directions in the area from our current vantage point.

© All rights reserved Zhai et al. and/or Elsevier Science

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Zhai, Shumin, Hunter, Michael and Smith, Barton A. (2002): Performance Optimization of Virtual Keyboards. In Human-Computer Interaction, 17 (2) pp. 229-269.

Text entry has been a bottleneck of nontraditional computing devices. One of the promising methods is the virtual keyboard for touch screens. Correcting previous estimates on virtual keyboard efficiency in the literature, we estimated the potential performance of the existing Qwerty, FITALY, and OPTI designs of virtual keyboards to be in the neighborhood of 28, 36, and 38 words per minute (wpm), respectively. This article presents 2 quantitative design techniques to search for virtual keyboard layouts. The first technique simulated the dynamics of a keyboard with digraph springs between keys, which produced a Hooke keyboard with 41.6 wpm movement efficiency. The second technique used a Metropolis random walk algorithm guided by a "Fitts-digraph energy" objective function that quantifies the movement efficiency of a virtual keyboard. This method produced various Metropolis keyboards with different shapes and structures with approximately 42.5 wpm movement efficiency, which was 50% higher than Qwerty and 10% higher than OPTI. With a small reduction (41.16 wpm) of movement efficiency, we introduced 2 more design objectives that produced the ATOMIK layout. One was alphabetical tuning that placed the keys with a tendency from A to Z so a novice user could more easily locate the keys. The other was word connectivity enhancement so the most frequent words were easier to find, remember, and type.

© All rights reserved Zhai et al. and/or Taylor and Francis

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Zhai, Shumin, Hunter, Michael and Smith, Barton A. (2000): The Metropolis Keyboard -- An Exploration of Quantitative Techniques for Virtual Keyboard Design. In: Ackerman, Mark S. and Edwards, Keith (eds.) Proceedings of the 13th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology November 06 - 08, 2000, San Diego, California, United States. pp. 119-128. Available online

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Maglio, Paul P., Matlock, Teenie, Campbell, Christopher S., Zhai, Shumin and Smith, Barton A. (2000): Gaze and Speech in Attentive User Interfaces. In: Tan, Tieniu, Shi, Yuanchun and Gao, Wen (eds.) Advances in Multimodal Interfaces - ICMI 2000 - Third International Conference October 14-16, 2000, Beijing, China. pp. 1-7. Available online

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Smith, Barton A., Ho, Janet, Ark, Wendy S. and Zhai, Shumin (2000): Hand eye coordination patterns in target selection. In: Duchowski, Andrew T. (ed.) ETRA 2000 - Proceedings of the Eye Tracking Research and Application Symposium November 6-8, 2000, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA. pp. 117-122. Available online

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Zhai, Shumin, Kandogan, Eser, Smith, Barton A. and Selker, Ted (1999): In Search of the 'Magic Carpet': Design and Experimentation of a Bimanual 3D Navigation Interface. In J. Vis. Lang. Comput., 10 (1) pp. 3-17.

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