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Effects of Language Modeling and its Personalization on Touchscreen Typing Performance

Andrew Fowler
Xiaojun Bi
Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2015), ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp. 649-658


Modern smartphones correct typing errors and learn userspecific words (such as proper names). Both techniques are useful, yet little has been published about their technical specifics and concrete benefits. One reason is that typing accuracy is difficult to measure empirically on a large scale. We describe a closed-loop, smart touch keyboard (STK) evaluation system that we have implemented to solve this problem. It includes a principled typing simulator for generating human-like noisy touch input, a simple-yet-effective decoder for reconstructing typed words from such spatial data, a large web-scale background language model (LM), and a method for incorporating LM personalization. Using the Enron email corpus as a personalization test set, we show for the first time at this scale that a combined spatial/language model reduces word error rate from a pre-model baseline of 38.4% down to 5.7%, and that LM personalization can improve this further to 4.6%.