Older people sometimes stumble over using text messaging on cellphones. Learn about the T9 predictive text feature — it makes things easier.
Readers under 25 are almost certain to have sent and received text messages on a cellphone within the last month. In fact, such readers have probably sent or received a text message within the last hour.
Older readers may use text messaging less frequently, or perhaps even not at all.
There are several stumbling blocks for older users:
- the size of text on a cellphone screen
- less dexterity in pressing small, closely spaced keys
- an urge towards using correct grammar and spelling
- unfamiliarity with how to type words.
Early cellphones required you to press each key several times to reach the letter you wanted. For example, to type the word ‘you’ you would have to press the number
9 three times, the number
6 three times, and the number
8 twice. Those 8 keypresses are extremely tedious.
Most newer cellphones use a system called T9 predictive text.
T9 uses intelligence to guess what you want to write: press the number
9 just once, follow that with one press each of the numbers
8. Only three keypresses and the word ‘you’ appears.
You may find that the phone also offers alternatives to the word ‘you’ — other ‘words’ that can be made by typing 968, such as ‘wot’ and ‘wov’. It may even offer longer words such as ‘you’re’, ‘would’, and ‘yourselves’.
Use the scroll and selection buttons on your phone to choose the word you want.
Your phone also gives you a key to change between upper and lower case — probably the
# key — but the phone should automatically use a capital letter at the start of a sentence (for grammar sticklers).
If you have a tricky word to spell that’s not in the Dictionary, such as ‘Porirua’, locate the button to bring up the Spell or Edit Word menu item. Type out the word, pressing each key enough times to reach the correct letter, and then choose Insert from the menu.
When you Insert the word the phone should also add it to a personal dictionary, so it’ll know it next time you need it.
BTW: text messages must be less than 160 characters. That’s why so many people use abbreviations. Each letter, number, space or punctuation mark is a character.
(That last paragraph was exactly 160 characters.)
Written for and reproduced from CommunityNet Aotearoa Panui, October 2007. This article may have been modified from the original.