Touchscreen Typing

I was wondering if anyone has thought that the touchscreen keyboard is counter intuitive?

I cannot believe that it has been more than 10 years since the touchscreen has become the norm and we still use the touchscreen keyboard to type. It made a lot of sense when the keyboard was physical however it is absolutely nonsense to have it on a screen. So far I have kept my phone with a physical qwerty keyboard as I refuse to use a very sloppy screen keyboard.

I believe that an amazing idea was the 8pen ( however for some reason it has not been successful with people and the app was pulled from the appstore. It is very intuitive and with a slight learning curve easy to use. Who did not have difficulty learning to type on a physical keyboard? I am not sure what was the resistance from people?

What do you think about this matter? Do you know of any apps that facilitate typing on a touchscreen? What have been your experience typing on a touchscreen?

I hate normal touchscreen typing too, but with swipe typing, (a.k.a. gesture typing) I find the issues almost completely resolved. I just use the latest Google keyboard, but there are many others I haven’t tried such as SwiftKey for android.

I think swipe typing is superior in many ways to a physical keyboard since you don’t lift your thumb when typing. It is faster because of this, just like cursive handwriting versus print. Also, the software used to guess the word you’re typing is pretty accurate. The accurate guessing of the word you are typing is probably why it works well since it makes up for any errors of placing your thumb over the wrong key through it’s comparison of your gesture with dictionary words. The only remaining advantage I can think of for the physical keyboard is that it still offers tactile feedback which won’t be present on touchscreens for a while.

Agreed for the trace/Swype style typing on Google, solves all the problems. Uncle Stevie did not allow any keyboard access for apps, but a quick look into the store shows that ban has been lifted.

I will try downloading that, however I still that depending on word prediction can cut the chain of thoughts while writing something important. I would like to start and end a post or message independently without aides.

Mr. Markers, I agree with your point, and I believe that the future will be in “gesture typing”. However I believe that we don’t really need to rely on the physical keyboard configuration. I am sure that it is possible to have a certain configuration that facilitates gesture typing.

Still not completely satisfied however I will give the google keyboard a try.

Yes, I have gestural typing on my Lumia as well, solves most of the issues as well as can be expected.

I remember when I was in college, one day on the radio I heard about a guy who had his fingertip bones shaved so he could use his blackberry keys more easily. Talk about compensatory behavior!

I think we’re honing in pretty close on a good sweet spot now. Optimal accessibility for quick communication, but still keyboard for dedicated content creation (laptop, surface pro3, bluetooth keyboards).

I hope so because I really don’t see much evolution through swyping. A certain configuration is necessary to study the accessibility of gesture to the words one is creating.

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There definitely is a generational aspect to it (although I would like to think that at 31 I am still youngish), however a bad idea in this generation doesn’t make it a good idea just because the new generation has gotten used to it.

The layout of the keyboard corresponds to our fingers typing, the extension of the fingers and how frequently an alphabet is typed. None of these matter when it comes to a touchscreen. On the contrary having a keyboard that was designed to be pressed by a finger, and using it to swipe at it instead, makes it a pretty maladaptive design.

That is why I am saying that there needs to be a layout for the new sliding motion of typing rather than the depressing of buttons.

My favorite way to type on mobile devices is by voice. Both Android and iOS does a pretty good job at it.

Well, there are lots of other systems that use existing knowledge from the user to lower the learning curve. Red, yellow and green are known status colours even though they might not really represent what’s going on or be the most aesthetically pleasing. We expect most knobs to increase value when being turned clockwise even though that might not be the most ergonomic option for the device.

Most of us do most of our typing on a physical keyboard. And I would be surprised to see the physical keyboard go away any time soon. At this point, we can expect most people to be very familiar with it’s layout which I think is quite an incredible feet. What would drive adoption is a keyboard layout that would be a significantly faster keyboard.

Actually, I’m not sure how bad the QWERTY layout is for swiping. The layout was developed so that typewriters wouldn’t jam. So commonly used letter pairs are set on opposite sides of the keyboard. This might actually be quite good for swiping gestures as I find current keyboards have trouble with words where you don’t need to swipe much and use common letters. I typically get most of my errors with the YUIO keys. (especially as I use a bilingual keyboard “you” and French “oui” can get mixed up)

We could compare this to the Dvorak key layout which is optimized typing for speed, all the vowels are next to each other on the left part of the home row and the consonants radiate out of the home row by usage. While swiping could be very fast in that layout, the error rate would probably be very high as highly used words would have very similar gestures. Also, you would tend to move back and forth on a single line which might be fatiguing.

8pen is interesting but seems fundamentally flawed when compared to something like swift key. Swift key works by understanding words, which is how we think of speach. Most words are just one or two flicks and get predictably better based on the rest of your sentence. 8pen needs one or two flicks for a single letter. I don’t see how you could become a faster typist using that layout. Not to mention the significant amount of time you’ll need to learn the layout. After a few days, I could type simple answers without looking at my phone on swiftkey. Also, 8pen seems to be biased for right hand use, I have a personal vendetta with that :laughing:

We should all just learn shorthand stenography…

On a slightly off-topic but related note, one thing I still can’t stand using a touchscreen for is hardcore gaming. Any game that requires analog sticks or quick button pressing is impossible for me to enjoy on a touchscreen, so I always use a controller when gaming on my phone. The touchscreen doesn’t work well enough because gaming often depends on tactile feedback. Without knowing by feel which button you press, you would have to look at the button to verify that you pressed the right one, or in the right place. This requires taking your eyes off the screen or shifting your eyes from where you should focus, and a lot could happen in the game during that time. This same problem applies to analog sticks on touchscreens, only that one benefit of putting them on the touchscreen is that you can get mouse-like precision if they are made to be used like a touchpad instead of a joystick. (The Steam Machine controller exemplifies this effort, and interestingly, Valve removed the touchscreen they initially planned to include on the controller.)

Developers sometimes compensate for this problem by making touchscreen buttons large and well separated and even using gestures at times, but it isn’t an optimal solution since you still can’t perfectly press the buttons blindly. Also, the buttons still take valuable screen space, and even if you incorporate haptic feedback, like vibration, to let you know you pressed a button, you may be trying to press more than one button, therefore you wouldn’t know which one you pressed.

Until Tactus touchscreens are perfected and become commonplace, I will continue to use a physical controller for mobile gaming when possible.

Good observation. Looks like qwerty will live on for a good reason now.

Up until the late '90’s, many small electronics would not use a qwerty keyboard. Usually using an ABC layout, like on this calculator:

Qwerty, and the other layouts are all meant to use all ten fingers. On a phone, we use only our two thumbs. Because of this, tests have shown that after a short trial period, there is no speed difference between an ABC layout and qwerty on small keyboards. We still have to hunt and peck because we don’t have the tactile feel of using our entire hands.

The reason that qwerty has won out on devices is marketing. People are familiar with qwerty and therefore believe they will be more proficient with it or there will be less of a learning period. Good luck convincing the masses this is not true!

One has to remember that QWERTY is the de-facto “standard” for English keyboards but have language-specific variants such as QWERTZ and AZERTY so a new system would just add complexity to it for non-English typers where a complex system already exists.