Self-Taught Typists Type Just As Fast

Use all 10 fingers? You don't have to

Typing Hands

Typing Hands

Screenshot by author, from YouTube

A new study from the user interfaces group at Finland’s Aalto University shows that, when it comes to typing, it’s not the number of fingers used that determines speed, but how they’re used. Doctoral candidate Anna Feit, together with Dr. Daryl Weir, put motion-capture dots on peoples' finger joints and had them type at a computer while high-speed cameras watched and recorded their movements.

The motion capture data showed that, instead of the number of fingers, there are other factors that predict typing speed. For example, fast typists have learned to keep their hands fixed on one position, instead of moving them over the keyboard, and more consistently use the same finger to type a certain letter.

Typing speed varied across the identified approaches of the typists, with some touch-typers as fast as some untaught typists. Curiously, they also found that while touch typing doesn’t necessarily improve typing speed, people who learned to touch type looked down at the keyboard a lot less when typing, making it a useful skill nonetheless.

Watch a short video on it below: