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Mobile Text Entry: How would you enter text while driving a tractor? JOHN DEERE asked the Human Factors and Aging Lab, which specializes in technology and older adults, to help them design their on-board mobile text entry system for tractors and combines. This design will support workers who need to enter limited amounts of text such as workers' names, the location of obstacles, and seed codes.

Since tractors operate in bumpy terrain, John Deere plans to use a rotary knob as the input device for the stability it provides. Our first experiments test the abilities of older and


younger adults to find a symbol within different letter arrangements and to control the cursor using the knob on different display shapes.

Marita O'Brien and I developed these experiments, which are designed to learn about visual scan and motor control. I also created an English-optimized letter arrangement based on previous work by Scott MacKenzie, Will Soukoreff, and Shumin Zhai, among others.

We are testing four display shapes and three letter arrangements (Alphabetic, QWERTY, and English-tuned). The results will be available soon.