An Immigrant's First Gripes with the WP Keyboard

I'm an immigrant. I'm a Taiwanese transplant in New York. I'm also an iOS transplant in Windows Phone. It's perplexing how nowadays I identify myself more as the latter. But that's a different discussion for another time and another place. I'm here in the tribe to get a hands-on with The Verge's forum post editor and to share a tiny entry from my Immigrant's Journal, which I hope to share with you all soon.

I'm now about a week into using my beautiful Lumia 800. Coming from nearly four years with the iPhone keyboard, I have been comfortable with the Windows Phone keyboard in terms of its relative size on the Lumia's 3.7 inch screen. However, I do have a couple of small gripes that somewhat relate to my overall problem with Windows Phone.

Authentically Digital, Flat, or Form Over Function?

I had a positive outlook for the keyboard experience on Windows Phone and was in love with the keyboard's flat appearance that is inline with Windows Phone's overall Metro aesthetics. Just one week in, I know I am not ready or entitled to comment on how the keyboard software(stroke recognition, word prediction, etc.) compares, but I can tell you that my experience with the Windows Phone keyboard and the Windows Phone OS so far has definitely made me less of a believer in the Authentically Digital, at least on touch devices. The trade-off between form and function has been far greater than I anticipated. I've learned to appreciate Apple's faux-realist design philosophy, which I had grown sick and tired of, just like many others at The Verge.

The Windows Phone keyboard has been less of a pleasure to type on compared to the iOS keyboard. Why? It's subtly confusing. It's not a jab at quietly brilliant, fast and fluid, or nature ux. Let me explain.

7178992594_d6c5a1ae27_medium Fixed on establishing an authentically digital interface that abandons real-world physics[curved spaces, lighting, motion, substance integrity, etc.], Metro struggles to behave as expected by users of the analog realm. Physical dimensionality and shadows have done magic for user interface and user experience with buttons and views on iOS, WebOS and arguably pre-ICS Android. They have made the extreme abstraction of physical reality in a mobile OS more relatable to most users. In my opinion, while the Windows Phone keyboard looks much cleaner and prettier, it does not make as much sense in use.

For example, when I tapped-and-held the hyphen key, and moved my finger down slightly to where the red letter 'A' is on the Windows Phone keyboard, I expected Windows Phone to partially disable my selection, to unhighlight the '-' on the upper row, because I'd moved my finger out of the grey area. The fact that you don't need to be anywhere near a key to stroke it on Windows Phone is convenient but unintuitive.

I'm using the keyboard as an example here to show Metro's wildly unfamiliar and often inconsistent digital logic that alienates the users, but the same problems are in the entire Windows Phone OS.

Is There A Patent For Browser Keyboard Layout?

And is there any reason as to why the '.com' key is placed away from the 'enter' key?


It's so hard to talk about Windows Phone because it's impossible to do screen captures.