Here we will preset ProTyper web application for learning touch typing in a form of a broader overview. Touch typing is a method to type fast and efficient with all fingers on both hands, without looking at the keyboard. It is probably the most popular method to improve the typing skill, which can be valuable to anyone working with a computer and could be beneficial for everyday productivity at work. Typing cannot be learned without practice, therefore the learning method for ProTyper web application is to first use a text, then select a test time limit and finally to start retyping the used text as fast as possible, until you have reached the chosen time limit. At the end of each test you get your typing results. The typing results are divided into main results, detailed results and graphic results. The results can also be shared on Facebook and Twitter. If you have registered through Facebook, Twitter or Google+, the you will also be able to see some of your typing statistics, which are also displayed graphically. By enabling you to see your own statistics it is possible to see the progress you made through time.
We will shortly describe the user interface of the web application shown on figure 1 below. The user interface is divided into main menu, options menu, the main area and below there will also be results, which are currently not displayed on the user interface image. The main area consists of the text area for the text that will be used for retyping. Below the text area is a separate field to type in the words. The smallest field is used for the time limit of the test.
Figure 1 User interface of ProTyper
With ProTyper it is possible to learn to touch type by using custom texts, so that everyone can type the text they want. Text can be copied directly from other webpages and also edited afterwards. There is also an option to choose existing predefined texts for those, who do not desire to search for their own texts. The words in the used text can also be shuffled, so that the text will not always be the same. You can also adjust the font size, text window size and change the font style. Before you start to type, you can change the time limit of the test. Time limit can be entered in a form of seconds, minutes and hours. The default and most common time limit is one minute.
The test starts when you start to type in a separate field. Typing in a separate field is beneficial, because it will not distract your focus on the text. The separate field can only hold one word at a time before you submit it by pressing the »space« key on the keyboard. The word in a separate field can also be corrected in case of a mistake, but only until the word is submitted. In case of a mistake the separate field will change color. This way you get alerted of a mistake and encouraged to correct the mistake, but at the same time the web application does not force you to correct the mistake, because this can greatly distract the typing pace and slow your typing speed down unnaturally. While typing, the text also gets marked after each submission of the word. Different colors are used to mark the right words, wrong words and the current word that you have to type in the already described separate field.
The typing results will show after the time limit has ended or also if you reset the test by clicking on the separate field for entering words. If the test has been restarted, the final results will be part-time. All the results have additional explanation on what they mean and how they are calculated. The additional explanation can be viewed in a balloon by hovering the mouse over the information symbol. You can get very detailed typing results, which are also sorted by categories. Most important results to mention are the typing speed, the typing accuracy and the accuracy for correcting typing errors.
The web application also enables the creation of contests, which can be shared by a link. Each contest has an author, description, time duration until the contest will end, the text that will be used in the contest, time limit, difficulty rating for the used text and the country or language of the used text. Contests can also be private or public, which means that the contest is displayed on the public contests list for anyone to join. Contests can be used by both, registered and guest users. Each contest has its basic information and a top ten users ranking by typing speed. Final results of the contest are viewed by the same link that was used for the contest before. Creation of the contest is also protected by “captcha” to prevent the use of automated scripts to create too many contests. Accessing contests by link does not require you to be using the application simultaneously with your friends and are therefore more flexible. Time limit and text at the contests is fixed because everyone should compete by typing the same text with same time limit.
By using a web application you do not need to install any software on your computer and can start to practice instantly. This way the application could easily be applied to schools, without the need to install any additional software. Students will need a lot of practice, therefore it will also be easier for them to practice at home, because they will only need internet access and the web address of the application. The application could specially be used in elementary and high schools.