iPad Keyboard Prototype... Improvements
I love my iPad. I use it for many hours each day. This time is spent mostly reading but I have done some real work on it. I drew a comic in 'Paper', edited images in 'Photoshop Touch' and made a presentation in 'Keynote'. I've even taken extensive amounts of class notes on my iPad using 'Pages' but it wasn't easy. Unlike the other apps and uses I referred to, typing is not better on the iPad, I wouldn't even call it good. You can put information in but it isn't very free form; the process is linear because editing that text or changing sections is very cumbersome. This is why I liked what I saw on The Verge recently.
A post titled 'iPad keyboard prototype wants to make text editing faster' showing the work of Danial Hoope showed a way that editing (moving the text insertion point and selecting text) could be made faster and less cumbersome on the iPad. It's great. I instantly wished I had a feature like that on my iPad. The problem with it is that is doesn't work with the UI experience of iOS. Here's why, firstly, it breaks the way the keyboard already works, which is that when you tap and hold a key it pops up to show a larger version. If you drag across the screen while still holding you get a popup of whichever key is currently under your finger. Secondly, it isn't very clear that this feature is present. iOS tries (though often fails) to make features very forward facing to the user. I don't believe many users would be aware of this feature even if it were already on their iPads.
All that said, I really do like this idea so I made it work with the UI language of iOS using the design of the voice dictation prompt on the iPhone 4s.
First, I've added a graphic on the space bar indicating the presence of a feature akin to the arrow keys.
Based on its placement to the side it should be clear to a user it is a secondary function of the spacebar.
When the spacebar is held down a new Insert Point Repositioning keyboard will replace the standard keyboard.
The space now devoid of keys acts as a trackpad to reposition the text insert point with.
The shift keys are still present but have a new 'Select' label indicating when held they will aid in selecting text.
The operation of selecting text can be done with 2 or 3 fingers by using multitouch gestures already present in iOS keyboards. As such, this feature could be made available to the iPhone also which, more often then note, has a user typing with only 2 thumbs.
So, what do you think? Apply enough to be rolled out for the general public? I can't help but think so.