Children’s Phrase Set for Text Input Method Evaluations

Akiyo Kano, Janet C Read

Child Computer Interaction Group
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, UK
<ak on the web> <janet on the web>


Alan Dix

Computing Department, InfoLab21
Lancaster University
Lancaster, UK
<alan on the web>

Paper at NordiCHI 2006, 5-7 December 2007, Tirrenia, Pisa, ITALY.

Download full paper (PDF, 167K)


This paper investigates the suitability of current phrase sets available in HCI for use with children in text entry experiments. It first examines the use of phrase sets within text input method evaluation, and suggests several reasons why the currently available phrase sets may not be suitable for use with children. A new phrase set, containing 500 phrases which have been taken from children’s books, is presented. A study that compared the adult focused phrase set with the new children’s phrase set is described. This study concludes that the new phrase set is suitable for use with children and, given that results with the two phrase sets were similar, the study adds validity to the existing adult phrase set.

keywords: Phrase set, children, text entry, keyboard, evaluation

Full reference:
A. Kano, J.C. Read and A. Dix (2006). Children’s Phrase Set for Text Input Method Evaluations. In Proceedings of NordiChi 2006, the 4th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer interaction: Changing Roles (Oslo, Norway, October 14 - 18, 2006). A. Mørch, K. Morgan, T. Bratteteig, G. Ghosh, and D. Svanaes, Eds. NordiCHI '06, vol. 189. ACM Press, New York, NY, 449-452..
Download full paper (PDF, 167K)
ACM DOI: 10.1145/1182475.1182534


  1. Butts, L. & Cockburn, A. (2001), An Evaluation of
    Mobile Phone Text Input Methods, Third Australasian
    User Interfaces Conference, Melbourne, Australia,
    Conferences in Research and Practise in Information
    Technology, Vol. 7, pp.55-59.
  2. Cooling (Eds.) (1998) “Read Me a Story, Please”,
    Orion Children’s Books, UK.
  3. James, C. L., & Reischel, K. M., (2001), Text Input for
    Mobile Devices: Comparing Model Prediction to
    Actual Performance, Proceedings of CHI2001, ACM,
    pp. 365-371, New York: ACM.
  4. Kano, A., (2005), Evaluating Phrase Sets for Use with
    Text Entry Method Evaluation with Dyslexic
    Participants, Workshop on Improving and Assessing
    Pen-Based Input Techniques at British HCI 2005,
    Edinburgh, England.
  5. MacKenzie, I. S., (2002a), Introduction to This Special
    Issue on Text Entry For Mobile Computing, Human-
    Computer Interaction, Vol.17, pp.141-145
  6. MacKenzie, I. S. (2002b). Mobile text entry using
    three keys. Proceedings of the Second Nordic
    Conference on Human-Computer Interaction –
    NordiCHI 2002, 27-34. New York: ACM.
  7. MacKenzie, I. S., (2006), TEPS, A shortened name for
    the phrase set, Personal communication, June 2006
  8. MacKenzie, I. S., & Soukoreff, R. W. (2002), Text
    entry for mobile computing: Models and methods,
    theory and practice. Human-Computer Interaction, vol.
    17, pp. 147-198.
  9. MacKenzie, I. S., & Soukoreff, R. W. (2003), Phrase
    Sets for Evaluating Text Entry Rate Development,
    Extended Abstracts of the ACM Conference on Human
    Factors in Computing Systems – CHI 2003, pp.754-755.
    New York: ACM.
  10. Mayzner, M. S., and Tresselt, M. E. (1965) Table of
    singleletter and digram frequency counts for various
    word-length and letter-position combinations,
    Psychonomic Monograph Supplements 1 (1965), 13-32.
  11. Read, J. C. (2005), The Usability of Digital Ink
    Technologies for Children and Teenagers. HCI2005,
    Edinburgh, Scotland, Springer.
  12. Read, J. C., MacFarlane, S. J., and Casey, C. (2001),
    Measuring the Usability of Text Input Methods for
    Children, HCI2001, Lille, France, Springer-Verlag
  13. Schiller, P., & Moore, T., (2004) “Do You Know the
    Muffin Man? – An Essential Preschool Literacy
    Resource”, Gryphone House, MD.
  14. Soukoreff, R. W., & MacKenzie, I. S. (2003). Metrics
    for text entry research: An evaluation of MSD and
    KSPC, and a new unified error metric. Proceedings of
    the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing
    Systems – CHI 2003, pp. 113-120. New York: ACM.


Poster [enlarge]

Alan Dix 24/12/2007