Typing speed hypothesis


Typing speed increases if there’s no feedback from the input (looking at keyboard) and output (looking at the screen).¶

I’ve been taking book notes of recently read books. While taking notes I realised that I type fastest when I look at neither the screen nor the keyboard.

When looking at just the book, I let my muscle memory (training) take over and get the fastest typing speed. There are a few errors—typos—but the writing speed makes up for them.

Looking at the screen is the next fastest mode of typing. It is probably slower when I’m copying text from the book since I have to constantly switch between the two, specially because I have to locate the cursor in the book every time. It is also slower because any typos are apparent immediately and create a dissonance hurdle in the brain, slowing it down.

Looking at the keyboard while typing is the slowest. The brain skips a lot of the muscle memory, or tries to reconfirm it, and tries to look for keys before typing. It may cause the least mistakes but is really, really slow.

To further test the hypothesis, I typed this short paragraph with my eyes closed. It was way faster. And only slightly more error prone (two typos). ¶

Then I typed this paragraph with my eyes on the keyboard. It wasn’t as slow as I’d imagined. It matches the speed of the other two methods when I’m using the central, often used keys, but breaks down with keys at the edges or that require modifier keys (alt/shift).

Perhaps it was slow when copying from the book because I had to switch between the book and keyboard, and, occasionally, the screen.¶

The only keys that I frequently look at the keyboard for these days are ‘’ (alt+], alt+shift+], “” (alt+[, alt+shift+[), … (alt+;), ñ (alt+n + n) and í/á/ó (alt+e + i/a/o).

¶ Paragraphs marked with this symbol were typed with eyes closed.

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