RingText: Dwell-free and hands-free Text Entry for Mobile Head-Mounted Displays using Head Motions

Wenge Xu, Hai Ning Liang*, Yuxuan Zhao, Tianyu Zhang, DIfeng Yu, DIego Monteiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we present a case for text entry using a circular keyboard layout for mobile head-mounted displays (HMDs) that is dwell-free and does not require users to hold a dedicated input device for letter selection. To support the case, we have implemented RingText whose design is based on a circular layout with two concentric circles. The outer circle is subdivided into regions containing letters. Selection is made by using a virtual cursor controlled by the user's head movements - entering a letter region triggers a selection and moving back into the inner circle resets the selection. The design of RingText follows an iterative process, where we initially conduct one first study to investigate the optimal number of letters per region, inner circle size, and alphabet starting location. We then optimize its design by selecting the most suitable features from the first study: one letter per region, narrowing the trigger area to lower error rates, and creating candidate regions that incorporate two suggested words to appear next to the current letter region (close to the cursor) using a dynamic (rather than fixed) approach. Our second study compares text entry performance of RingText with four other hands-free techniques and the results show that RingText outperforms them. Finally, we run a third study lasting four consecutive days with 10 participants (5 novice users and 5 expert users) doing two daily sessions and the results show that RingText is quite efficient and yields a low error rate. At the end of the eighth session, the novice users can achieve a text entry speed of 11.30 WPM after 60 minutes of training while the expert (more experienced) users can reach an average text entry speed of 13.24 WPM after 90 minutes of training.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8642443
Pages (from-to)1991-2001
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • Virtual Reality
  • circular keyboard layout
  • dwell-free input
  • mobile head-worn/mounted displays
  • text entry


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