A Protocol to Evaluate Virtual Keyboards for Indian Languages



Considering growing usage of cell phones in India, Government of Indian asked us to evaluate input mechanisms for touch-screen devices with the objective of standardising one of them for each of 14 major languages of India. For this purpose, we propose a protocol that consists of various sessions like training, first-time usability and longitudinal test. The evaluation was done with school children from standards 4th to 7th. The course of the evaluation lasted 2–4 weeks for each user. To help follow the protocol over this long period and to collate the data, we developed a tool for android cell phones. In addition to this, we provide test corpora for Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Odia, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. Also, we have ensured that each corpus represents a mix of informal communication between people, popular phrases from films, songs, poetry and public discourse, and formal texts from school books and literature. We tagged each phrase according to typing difficulty, phrase length, and memorability and age appropriateness. We evaluated the protocol through pilot tests with 206 users in Marathi, Gujarati, Hindi, Bengali, Odia, Assamese and Tamil. In this paper, we present the original protocol, the detailed findings from the Marathi pilots, and the proposed modifications to the protocol.

My Contribution

  Heuristic Evaluation
  Iterative design
  Usability Study
  Database Management



Touch screen familiarity- As user were from the age group of 8-12, so it was compulsory to develop the familiarity with touch screen. In order to develop a familiarity with touch screen user was made to play game of ‘Angry birds’.
Training- Initially, user was given training on words on set of 10 different words.
FTU (First time Usability test)- User were asked to transcribe a set of 20 similar words on his own.
LTU (Longitudinal Test) - In this phase, user was asked to complete 30 sessions each consisting of 10 phrases.