Make Basic Characters More Accessible
Use the OPTION key for access to apostrophes, quotation and exclamation marks, parentheses, regular as well as m and n dashes, dollar signs and a DELETE key, along with CHANGE CASE keys...ALL being the characters most frequently used moment-by-moment for texting messages and emails.
There comes a point where too many features... "cooks in the kitchen," so to speak—or characters, in this case—ruin the day-to-day practicality of the "soup" in your app.
The suggestion is to replace some of the Greek, mathematical, and other symbols on the Opted layout on iPhone with standard punctuation characters, so, for example, you don’t need Opt and Shift to get the secondary symbols under K and L in the US English layout.
Please vote for this issue if you would like this, thanks!
AdminPadKeys (Support, PadKeys) commented
Thank you F Hiew for your analysis and suggestions, as well as others who have taken the time to write before. We will try to address some of this in the next release but one. (The next release is coming out later this month and has many improvements but in different areas.)
F Hiew commented
PadKeys is great! Thanks for your thoughtfulness and hard work!! :)
I agree with Peter on this issue heartily:
1. The standard Apple iOS keyboard is far superior to PadKeys when it comes to typing common characters such as the colon, apostrophe and double quotes. The standard Apple keyboard only requires a single modifier key press to get these.
- "Holding-and-sliding" is rather slow and unwieldy
- it's more intuitive to use "hold-and-slide" for variant forms (e.g. accented versions) of the basic key, than for totally different characters. You have to know where they are first.
- Also, a _significant_ problem is that your thumb obstructs visibility of the various symbols as you slide around (Try holding "L" and then sliding around to select the semicolon: it is obstructed, and it's hard to tell if you have selected the colon or the semicolon!!!)
- Apple have alleviated the problem of the thumb obstructing visibility of "hold-and-slide" characters by giving them extra height, so you can slide your thumb down a bit. Padkeys in inferior in this regard.
2. Most users would expect to use SHIFT rather than "holding-and-sliding-around" to get a colon or apostrophe, although having both methods is also okay.
2. Most users use colons, apostrophes, hyphens, double quote marks far more than they use mathematical symbols. Being able to quickly type a simple text message is way more important than typing equations!
3. Remember a phone is not a PC! Scientists and programmers might use mathematical symbols a fair bit at their workplace on a PC, but I would guess that most software developers and scientists rarely need to type them on a phone or iPad!
4. Many people type simple smileys manually using characters e.g. :) :-) ;-) etc, rather than by using the graphic emojis. One reason being that when sending an SMS text message, graphical emojis reduce the character limit from 160 to 70 characters. Another reason is that many people don't like to us separate graphic emoji screens. If you uses several languages, having an emoji keyboard can by an annoyance. So having Colons (etc) in easy reach is a must for a phone!
My Suggested Solutions:
(I'm referring to portrait mode, iPhone 6/7/8 here. Some of this may differ for landscape mode or iPad)
(1.) When SHIFT or CAPS LOCK is pushed:
- the space bar narrows in width
- the cursor arrow keys disappear
- keys appear on the right of the space bar for HYPHEN (-) (long press for em dash, en dash, underscore), SEMICOLON (;), COLON (:), APOSTROPHE ('), and DOUBLE QUOTES (").
Reason: People usually don't use the space bar or cursor keys once they have pressed SHIFT or CAPS LOCK
(2.) I would suggest the OPTION keyboard follows the standard Apple iOS keyboard's  screen layout for the two middle rows, with PadKeys' SHIFT button behaving just like the standard iOS keyboard's [*+=]. button. Additional characters could occupy the number row and perhaps even the spelling suggestion row.
The OPTION key is where the standard iOS "123" switch key is located, so many people will be used to pressing that key to type regular punctuation marks.
That way, there is no learning adjustment needed for new users who are used to hitting the key in the bottom left corner to get punctuation marks!
(3.) Make the pop-up "hold-and-slide" keys _much_ taller, with the label at the top of the key, and a bit wider, so that one's thumb does not have to block your view of the character!
(4.) The current plethora of mathematical, Greek and typesetting symbols could treated just like another "language", just as you would access French, Swedish or Dutch.
(5.). Alternatively, the mathematical, Greek and typesetting symbols could have their own screen within the OPTION keyboard, perhaps with a button between the Globe key and the space bar.
(6.) Speaking of Greek letters: it's understandable that you have chosen to restrict PadKeys to Latin-based keyboards. With thousands of different character sets worldwide, it would be opening a Pandora's box to try to handle them all, especially for Asian languages!!!
However it might be worth considering an exception for the Greek alphabet, for the following reasons:
- 1. PadKeys already has a fair number of Greek letters already!
- 2. Having Greek as a separate language would free up some valuable space
- 3. The Latin alphabet was originally derived from the Greek alphabet
- 4. Greek letters are used by the scientific community
- 5. Greek letters (with accents and breathing marks) are used by the theological community
- 6. Additionally, many people use Bible apps and Bible Study apps on their iPads/iPhones, and some users commonly use Greek letters with these.
Anyway: great job guys!
The vast majority of the punctuation symbols are available without using either shift or opt, by holding certain keys:
• holding 4/$ gives you an assortment of currency symbols
• holding '/" gives you an assortment of quotes and apostrophes
• holding //? gives you an assortment of punctuation marks
• holding 8/* gives you an assortment of footnote marks: †, ‡, §
• holding -/_ gives an assortment of hyphens.
For the most part, the current approach works well: commonly used characters are available from the main keyboard without the need to use opt, and often without needing shift; and less common characters are available via the opt keyboard. If you replace anything on the opt keyboard with something more commonly used, please move the replaced character to a popup somewhere. For example, if you choose to retask the opt-5 key, you should move ∞ elsewhere (like, say, to the 0 key’s popup).
Pedro Antonio commented
I vote yes