Marc here.  I’ve been trying to use the Keyman keyboard on iOS 8 exclusively for a few days, now that iOS 8 is in gold master.  This post is written to give you a bit of an idea of how deep we try and go in working through usability and the keyboarding experience.   I haven’t covered all the stuff that I came across in my testing, because some of it wouldn’t make any sense to an outsider!

We love these types of report from our users — so much more useful than “it doesn’t work”, or “your program went wrong!”  So send us your experiences, or blog them and tell us!

General thoughts:

  • Generally, the keyboard is responsive and clear.
  • Of course, we have no autocorrect yet and this is a bit of a usability hurdle.  This is obviously still a priority but more complex given broad language objectives.
  • On Eurolatin, unshifted letters look a little unpolished, but this is partially what I am used to with the default iOS keyboard.
  • Keyboard use is improved by very intentional typing, whereas one tends to get a little sloppy on the native iOS keyboard.

This is a list of various things I have noted around usability and bugs of Keyman on iPhone with the Eurolatin (European Latin) keyboard 1.2:

  • Eurolatin has no autocaps, which is a pain at the start of a sentence or when you begin typing.
  • I’m used to double-space for full stop, but this is not in Eurolatin.  Not a big deal given we have a separate full stop key.
  • European latin keyboard needs BKSP at right of 3rd row.
  • Layer changes should be toggles – never disappear.  Rotating through secondary layers is also not good UX.
  • Right hand side of OSK needs tiny margin to match LHS
  • The [A] key needs activation to left of key as well as on top, so clumsythumbing of the key still works it.  This is a general rule for keys on either side of the keyboard.
  • All control keys should remain same size between layers
  • Shift+[.]-subkeys are sometimes incorrect, e.g. if shifted layer is active, [,] gives “<”
  • Backspace autorepeat timing is a little slow.
  • Key cap font sizes still not 100% – have we not applied the improved styling that Jeremy put together?
  • Colours of control keys should match iOS 8
  • Keys should be slightly smaller with wider margins – but have same touch area
  • Icons on control keys are still a little ugly
  • [Hide] key may be optional?
  • [Tab] key not working
  • Sometimes, switching landscape <> portrait gives wrong font size and key scale
  • In the App Review screen, the edit control scrolls off the screen which makes input impossible to see.
  • Font install from Keyman no longer shows the ‘return to Keyman’ button
  • It seems if you reinstall a font profile when it is already installed, it may break the fonts. (more of a usability thing than a real issue)

Missing:

  • We don’t contextualize the keyboard with @, #, etc keys per edit control preferences
  • Autocompletion, autocorrection, suggestions
  • Slide-style input
  • Chords = shift+key
  • Language menu
  • Crowdsourced autocorrect would be most awesome but has privacy implications

Amharic_ios_1.2_600x315


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