Typing on mobile: some thoughts

I was thinking the other day about smartphones and how I often don't like to type on them. I'm just so used to typing on full-size keyboards, that typing on mobile is like swimming in molasses. And it's really a shame, because in so many other ways, my iPhone is incredibly convenient.

But then, I thought about how speech to text these days is pretty decent, and perhaps the best approach would be to just use Siri for dictation instead of trying to type. I've held off on such things, because I'm old enough (and had enough bad experiences with flaky computer dictation long ago) that psychologically, it feels really weird to talk to a computer.

But in this case, my computer is a phone.

And that means: I feel weird talking to a phone.

Which is kind of weird, don't you think?

What about you? Do you type on your smartphone a lot? Or do you use Siri/Cortana/Google for dictation? Does talking to your phone feel weird or is it totally normal for you?
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by:Lucas Bishop
Thumb typing is so inefficient. If I'm in a public setting I'll thumb type endlessly just to avoid letting everyone hear what I'm trying to type, but otherwise for anything more than a sentence I'll be dictating straight through Siri. She's extremely accurate if you enunciate your words.
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by:Brian Matis
Yeah, I've had some great experiences with Siri lately. Only learning curve is getting used to clarifying punctuation...

Interesting point about using typing for privacy. I wonder, do you feel differently about the privacy of what you're telling Siri vs. when you're talking to a person?
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by:Brandon Lyon
Voice recognition software is usually good enough for short things but a 95% success rate means 1 in 20 words will be wrong. On top of that think of how often you need to correct autocorrect's suggestions when typing. I tried writing school papers with voice recognition but that didn't last long because 95% wasn't good enough.

Personally I don't feel weird talking to my electronics after living with Alexa for years. In fact I miss her when she isn't around to talk to.

As for keyboard typing vs voice, I actually prefer a stylus on sufficiently large devices. There's something about that kinesthetic action which transcribes thoughts better. I fumble over my words when talking. For phone sized devices I type because autocomplete keyboards get things done quickly.
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by:Kyle Santos
Ahhhhh, I miss T-9 (Nokia phone users, riiight?) so much, but I've noticed typing with my thumbs does misspell things, but it auto corrects it for me often, and if it doesn't auto correct then it suggests a word to use that I want to use and finishes typing it all out.

I tried Siri a few times for a few different reasons.  Meh.  I feel confident enough in my typing with my thumbs, and I have an iPhone SE so its an even smaller screen than most of Apple's newer iPhones.

if you enunciate your words.
There are many a text messages I have to read to decipher what the heck the other person is saying when they don't enunciate their words.  Its really frustrating and I wish they wouldn't use it to text!  Honestly, if the word is misspelled I'm more apt to be able to figure out the word they misspelled as opposed to what word Siri thought they said.  Also, the onus on the sender not reading their message before sending is frustrating too.  BLEH!
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by:Stacy Richard
I can't stand talk to text!!
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by:Andrew Leniart
Give us an IPhone for fat fingers! - When do we want it?  BOW!  :)

I agree, trying to text by talking to my phone just seems weird to me. I even feel a little silly when I tell Siri to initiate a call to one of my contacts lol..

I never cease to be amazed by how quickly (and accurately!) my kids can bang out a text message on their phones using just their thumbs.  I've even seen my son banging away at a message while watching the telly at the same time and he's amazingly accurate!  Me, I'm useless at it and much prefer a keyboard :)
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by:Kyle Santos
When do we want it?  BOW!
Cereal-Guy-Spitting.jpgI lol'd.
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by:Daniella Barion
This is so crazy, we can do so many things from a smart phone and the less important it is to talk.  I feel embarrassed to type next to my 16 years old daughter; she does it so fast.
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by:Bert2005
It's funny, because I will be using my thumbs to text someone and suddenly realize I can talk to text. So much faster. But, you can't use it in public places. Well I can't. Another interesting thing about texting in general is that so many of us are OCD. I can go back and proof read and generally the errors don't affect the message. Yet, I will still go back and correct it. I think errors in a text message are acceptable.

But, to get right down to it, typing to text just went downhill for me when they did away with the physical keyboards. It's amazing that it takes nothing at all to get used to typing with your thumbs. I  had an HTC model (I can't forget), but its slideout keyboard was amazing. I could type around 45 to 50 wpm with no errors.

Finally, no one has mentioned (or at least I didn't see), Swyping. I still Swype. My friend can Swype with one thumb and is fast and flawless. I just constantly make errors. I still don't know why they don't have software which allows you to move the detection on the key based on if you use your right hand vs left.

Sorry so long.
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by:John
There are many circumstances (meetings, public places, noisy places, night time (quiet required), workplace, and so on) where talking to a computer or on a phone is either improper or difficult.  So I generally do not do this.

1. Mobile devices: I can type on my iPhone if necessary and it works. I use my finger, not my thumb. I have an iPhone SE which is the smallest (or one of the smallest) modern smart phones on the planet. I can use it just fine.

2. Computers: I have solved this one. 2.5 pound 14 inch laptop with high resolution and scalable text that does everything I need to do and lasts about 5 hours or a bit longer on a battery charge.  It has a real keyboard, a bright screen, and a useable keyboard mouse (NIX on trackpads - I never saw a single person who could use a trackpad effectively).
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by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
This morning I was texting on my phone and was asked if I was drunk.   I switched to voice.  It does seem weird but it works. Even at 95% is better than fat finger + auto correct.  I feel like mind control to text is around the corner and that will be a game changer.
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by:Andrew Leniart
This morning I was texting on my phone and was asked if I was drunk.
How often does your phone accuse you of binge drinking in the mornings?

:^)
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by:Jim Horn
>This morning I was texting on my phone and was asked if I was drunk.  
That's how I can tell that I haven't been playing guitar in awhile, as my fingernails grow long and I start making texting typos.
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by:Craig Kehler
I agree talking to your phone does feel weird. It does work well if you are in a quiet area, but if there are other people around it can pick up some random inputs. A good friend of mine was doing a talk to text to respond to his wife while in a crowded bar, when he went to hit send he had some of the most random conversation snippets captured. You can have fun with this, finding out all the crazy things your phone can overhear. :)

Similarly I remember when MacOS first added Speech Recognition commands. One of my testers set it up and was saying how cool it was. I walked by and said "Tell Application Finder Shutdown". Yeah that was pretty neat.
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by:Kyle Santos
I walked by and said "Tell Application Finder Shutdown".
Modern day Alt+F4 savagery! :D

Gamers will know...

a86.jpg
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by:Brian Matis
Brandon:
Personally I don't feel weird talking to my electronics after living with Alexa for years. In fact I miss her when she isn't around to talk to.

That's pretty cool how you've adapted in this way! I'm really trying to train myself to get used to it, because it's been so incredibly convenient when I do. Just recently, I was working on something, and I needed to know the population of a city. I almost defaulted to my classic behavior of switching over to a web browser to run a search, but then I remembered that Siri was built in to Mac OS now. So I just pressed the Siri button (touch bar on MacBook Pro) and asked her. She told me the number and I was able to put it right in to the document without ever switching away. So freakin' useful. But it was hard to break old habits!
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by:Brian Matis
Stacy:
I can't stand talk to text!!
I'm curious... Why do you hate talk to text?
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by:Andrew Leniart
Stacy: I'm curious... Why do you hate talk to text?
Not speaking for Stacy, but I too get frustrated with 'Siri' sometimes, especially so if I'm driving and try to initiate a hands free call to some of my contacts. I tend to drive with my windows fully down almost all year round so I guess the ambient noise probably doesn't help, but it can be incredibly frustrating when two out of three calls tend to work perfectly!

A typical example goes something like this..
1. Hey Siri, call Tom Smith, office..  "Calling, Tom Smith.. office"   Tick! - Successful call
2. Hey Siri, call Bob Jones, mobile.. "Calling Bob Jones.. mobile"  Tick! - Successful call
3. Hey Siri, call Jennifer Clayton, office..  "Calling John Mechanic, office.."  Huh?!?!

Might take two or three attempts before she finally gets it right and I've had to explain myself a few times when not paying much attention to Siri's answers (which most times I'm not) and the call goes through to someone I had no intention of calling.

One amusing time she wrongly called my dental surgery and I ended up making an appointment for a routine checkup during the call. Turned out I needed a filling so that call ended up costing me about $150.00!! lol..

I'm sure others must have also experienced this phenomenon as well? :)
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by:Stacy Richard
One reason of not liking talk to text if you ever been on the end of the message that has not been read over before sending is really confusing and can cause some problems.

Second reason just listening to someone use talk to text is simply annoying to me. I don't want to hear the conversation you are having.

This is just my opinion.
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