Pinyin and Bihua(笔画) are two main input methods for Chinese.
The Pinyin is a pronouncing spelling method, similar to English. Pinyin also has vowels and consonants (different from those of English) and those vowels and consonants can be typed with a US keyboard. The US keyboard is one main keyboard in China.
Pinyin input method is popular in China because it is very easy to learn. But it also has its disadvantage. More than one word or even tens of words may have the same pronounce. That means, if users type Pinyin, they have to choose from plenty of words for the one they actually want. This is really time-consuming for users, especially for those professional typists.
Those fast typists or professional typists would prefer Bihua input method. The Chinese characters can be divided into parts. Those parts can be classified and name as “shape”(偏旁部首). Those shapes are assigned and printed on keyboard. Every Chinese character can be formed by those shapes. What is more, every character is unique and different from other characters. So, compared to Pinyin, Bihua is faster and more efficient.