Proceedings: GI 2018

ThumbText: Text Entry for Wearable Devices Using a Miniature Ring

Junhyeok Kim (University of Manitoba), William Delamare (University of Manitoba), Pourang Irani (University of Manitoba)

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2018: Toronto, Ontario, 8-11 May 2018, 18 - 25

DOI 10.20380/GI2018.04

  • BibTex

    author = {Kim, Junhyeok and Delamare, William and Irani, Pourang},
    title = {ThumbText: Text Entry for Wearable Devices Using a Miniature Ring},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2018},
    series = {GI 2018},
    year = {2018},
    isbn = {978-0-9947868-3-8},
    location = {Toronto, Ontario},
    pages = {18 -- 25},
    numpages = {8},
    doi = {10.20380/GI2018.04},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society / Soci{\'e}t{\'e} canadienne du dialogue humain-machine},
    keywords = {Text Entry, Wearables, Design, Smartwatch, Head- Worn Display, Ring, Touch, Thumb},


Users can benefit from using an auxiliary peripheral that could mitigate many concerns with direct text entry on wearable devices. We introduce ThumbText, a thumb-operated text entry approach for a ring-sized touch surface. Through a multi-part exploration, we first identify a suitable discretization of the miniature touch surface for thumb input. We then design a number of two-step selection techniques for supporting the input of at least 28 characters. On a miniature touch surface, we find that a continuous touch-slide-lift selection technique in a 2×3 grid discretization offers improved performance gains over other selection methods. Finally, we evaluate ThumbText against techniques also designed for wearable devices and find that ThumbText allows for higher text entry rates than SwipeBoard and H4-Writer.