- Keys are virtual. They can be any shape in any order. They could move, grow, and learn. There is no hardware reason to propagate the legacy.
- Touch screens have no variable feedback. You pretty much have to keep an eye on the typing. If you'e watching it instead of touch-typing, why not change it up?
- The given display keys are small enough I can't type with my thumbs (plus I have long nails) so I'm pretty much typing one fingered, including this. You know what isn't optimized for one finger typing? Qwerty.
- there's not a physical limit on key response. Keys could do just about anything from typing one letter to inputting a sentence or swapping screens. There's no good reason to not take advantage of that.
With that in mind, I set out to design a keypad for typing American English one-fingered. And I have a solution I'm extremely happy with. I'm torn about whether or not to upload it here, because the blog is Google archived. Email me if you want to see it while I consider posting it. An early version did go up on facebook, where I learned that the Android Platform has a programmable keyboard option. But that doesn't help me on my iPhone.
Still and all, I'm looking to program it in some testable way. A colleague's CS prof may be interested and has experience programming for the Apple platforms. If that doesn't work out I'll keep trying. I'd also like to see if I can work it for the Android, since they were so open about options.
My design principles:
Frequent letters belong together. The most frequent combos should be adjacent.
Order should trend L-R like word order, so prefix heavy mid-list letters go left, and suffix heavy letters go right.
Common keys should be bigger to allow for more slop at speed.
Adjacent keys should be swipe-able for fewer taps.
We need a few helps beyond straight letters like a comma key. And cursors (for when my blogs run long and finger dragging causes weird effects. )
By making typing more clear, autocorrect can be less aggressive and energies can be focused on value-adds over cleanup. All good stuff. I can't wait until it works!
Now, I'm 5min from boarding a plane to FLA via Dallas. My cousin is getting married and I'm a bit of a wreck because I've been keydesigning in all my spare time! I need a manipedi something fierce before the wedding ensemble's open toes.