KALQ – New keyboard layout

May 17, 2013 by     1 Comment    Posted under: Latest Technology

Till now all the smart phones & devices have been using QWERTY layout. Today we are going to discuss about the latest layout of the keyboard that have broken down the trend of 130 years old QWERTY Keypad – that layout is called KALQ (letters at the bottom right of the keyboard), enables fast thumb typing on the touch screen devices. The observation proves that QWERTY is inefficient for Touch Screen Tablets & phones. The research team studied in detail that how the users move their thumbs in order to develop an optimized KALQ layout. We can say KALQ is a radical departure from the QWERTY system.

kalq-keyboardKALQ was designed by a research team of Antti Oulasvirta at the Max Plank institute for informatics & colleagues from the university of St. Andrews & Montana Tech. They quickly realized the slight changes to the layout. The model of the thumb movement & the techniques for the computational optimization are used to identify and yield superior performance among the millions of potential layouts. The key ideas behind the development of such layout are:

  • To minimize the long sequence with a single thumb so that both the thumbs works simultaneously as one thumb is typing the other one can move to its next target.
  • Combine the vowels in one grid & frequently used keys in second one.

So, which is the better option?

Although QWERTY is more popular, because of its user friendliness, still here are some comparisons which helps you to choose the best

  • QWERTY is long lasting, familiar. Its very difficult for the users to adapt KALQ who are using QWERTY. But still it was observed from a study that after a short amount of practice, the users of KALQ could type 34% faster than they could have on QWERTY
  • QWERTY is ill-suited for the tablets & touch screen devices, when typing with thumbs. To overcome this problem KALQ was designed, because it balances the movement between thumbs

Layout of the design

The main motive behind the design of KALQ is to save your thumbs stretching across the screen. It splits the keys into two blocks 16 in the left grid & 12 in the right one. Commonly used letters are clustered together & frequent pairs of letters are placed on alternate sides. The right thumb looks after the vowels, whereas the left thumb takes care for the most common first letters of the words, So that each thumb has a piece of work equally & alternately. They also place the frequently used letters centrally close to each other.

Here is a small descriptive video:


  • Is there an app for iOS with the option to customise keyboard layouts?
    I couldn’t find anything by searching ‘kalq’
    Where should I look…?