Increasing the Usability of Text Entry in Mobile Devices for European Languages and Languages Used in Europe

  • Martin Böcker
  • Karl Ivar Larsson
  • Bruno von Niman
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4560)


Entering text through the 12-key keypad of mobile devices is one of the biggest usability challenges of mobile phone use. The user’s problem is potentially increased if the text to be entered contains language-specific letters not included in the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, as users cannot be sure which key of the 12-key keypad the letter they wish to enter is associated to. ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, has published in 2003 a standard (ES 202 130) that specifies the assignment of characters on the 12-key telephone keypad for a range of European languages. That standard for letters, digits and special characters (such as the Euro symbol and punctuation marks) covered the official languages of the EU and EFTA members, Russia, as well as countries with applicant status for the EU at that time. This paper describes the further development of the standard to cover other major languages spoken in Europe including official languages, minority languages and immigrants’ languages.


Usability user interfaces standards 12-key keypad ICT 


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  1. 1.
    ETSI references are available free of charge at,
  2. 2.
    CEN ENV 13710 : European Ordering Rules - Ordering of characters from the Latin, Greek and Cyrillic scripts (2000)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    ETSI ES 202 130 Human Factors; User Interfaces; Character repertoires, ordering and assignment to the 12-key telephone keypad (European languages)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    ETSI ETS 300 640 Human Factors (HF); Assignment of alphabetic letters to digits on standard telephone keypad arraysGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    ETSI TS 100 900 Digital cellular telecommunications system (Phase 2+); Alphabets and language-specific information (same as GSM 03.38 version 7.2.0, Release 1998)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    ISO 8859-7: Information processing - 8-bit single-byte coded graphic character sets - Part 7: Latin/Greek alphabetGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    ISO/IEC 10646-1: Information technology - Universal Multiple-Octet Coded Character Set (UCS); Part 1: Architecture and Basic Multilingual Plane (2000)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    ISO/IEC 6937: Information technology - Coded graphic character set for text communication - Latin alphabet (2001)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    ITU-T Recommendation E.161 (02/01) Arrangement of digits, letters and symbols on telephones and other devices that can be used for gaining access to a telephone networkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Böcker
    • 1
  • Karl Ivar Larsson
    • 2
  • Bruno von Niman
    • 3
  1. 1.BenQ MobileGermany
  2. 2.LWP ConsultingSweden
  3. 3.vonniman Consulting, ETSI TC HF Vice Chairman and STF 300 Leader 

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