Couple problems with virtual keyboards



By virtual key boards i mean the ones you find on iPhone, iPad, Android devices or Acer’s Iconia.
I might be wrong but there are two complaints that i dont hear as often, so let me spell them out here and provide a possible solution.

First, lack of positioning feedback. With physical keyboards, the bugle on “F” and “J” and the gaps between keys allows the user to sense the position of his/her finger tips, through feedback from fingertips. A virtual keyboard does not allow this, the user have to scan the keyboard from time to time to make sure fingers are on the right keys. This problem would not have be so bad if the user can rest his/her finger on the keyboard when not typing to avoid losing the position. which leads us to the second problem.

Second, unable to rest fingers on a virtual keyboard. Because the act of resting ones finger a virtual keyboard is tantamount to sending an input commend. Therefor the finger alway have to be in the “air” hovering above the keyboard, which is very tiresome.

Solution:
when typing on a virtual keyboard, only register an input when there is a touch of a finger AND a clicking sound from the nail hitting on the surface of the touch screen at the same time.

This will allow users to rest their finger when not typing. Moreover, the clicking sound from the nail will serve as a feedback confirming an input. one additional benefit of this is to allow the touch screen to distinguish a click from a mouseover. The inability to make this distinction has been a limit to software developers of touch screen devices. Of course this will require a microphone install, which luckily most touch screen smart phone and tablets already have. No new hardware should be required, just a software update.

Now, as to the first positioning feedback problem. One way to solve this is, before typing, have the user hitting “ASDF” and “JKL;” at the same time, if all 8 fingers are on the right position play a feedback sound or haptic vibration to let the user know, s/he is ready to type.

Update: A friend of Cosmopolite, Chloe, gave me the following feedback:

1. Registering a feedback only when there is a touch corresponding with a clicking sound from the nail will be a pain for people with long nails.
2. An alternative solution is to have a physical key lock on the side of the keyboard that allows input reception to switch on and off, so that the users hands can rest between typing.

Hmm, good point with the long nail thing. A solution maybe for the touch screen to recognize a nail impact location without a touch with the skin, though probably not feasible with the capacitance touch screen currency apply on most touch screens. Also, the problem with a physical key lock is that it can be come quite annoying in between short burst of typing, like when you are chatting with someone one a messenger. And instead of a physical key lock, an onscreen gesture might be better.

A video demonstration of Iconia

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s