The problem you mention is an annoying one. But I’m not sure about solving it by taking up a slot on the suggestions row for (typed) or “typed” every time there is an auto-suggestion. The constant presence of that item is one of the things I hate about other keyboards. Is there any other way we could address this issue?
Jon Lang has some great ideas. Putting an "+ADD" (or "Learn", "sic" or "+1" etc) button which will add the typed word to the dictionary wouldn't take much space on the suggestion bar. Maybe you could remove the Redo arrow when it's not active?
35 votesAdminPadKeys (Support, PadKeys) responded
We have this on our TODO list, however to do it well for all of our supported languages is not a trivial task.
We can consider this, however:
- It slows down the use case where you often switch to an emoji keyboard, or to Apple’s (to get dictation button).
- It operates differently from the Globe on the Apple keyboard, so many users may have a hard time finding it, and/or Apple itself might reject the app.
I wonder if there would be any alternatives, maybe moving the Globe, or delaying the tap effect just enough on that key to avoid the accidental triggering during typing?
Example of a PC keyboard's Caps Lock key with smaller raised section to reduce accidental presses.
I would guess that when people hit the globe key by mistake, they are either trying to press Option or the Z key (in English) (or equivalent key in other languages).
I myself don't seem to find it a problem on my iPhone, though, but I understand that people with different sized fingers might.
If you examine the standard Apple iOS keyboard (at least, on an iPhone), they have made it slightly harder to hit by mistake. The bottom row of keys is very close to the bottom of the screen, and there is a tiny bit more distance between the rows. Also the "123" key is slightly wider, to make it easier to hit.
My advice would be:
- Narrow the space bar slightly, and move the Globe key a bit further from the Option key. Perhaps put it exactly where the iOS Globe key is (currently the Padkeys Globe is to the left, and higher up than the iOS Globe key) Perhaps make the Option key a little bit wider. But you don't want to move the Globe key very far away from where it is in the iOS one, as we need it to be in roughly the same place to swap between keyboards quickly. I have deleted good keyboards because their Globe key was in the bottom left hand corner.
- Move the bottom row downwards a tiny bit, maybe 1-2mm on an iPhone
- Make the Globe key a tiny bit less tall than the surrounding keys (maybe by 1-2mm on an iPhone). (In a similar way to some PC keyboards, where the raised part of the CAPS LOCK key is less wide than the entire key, to prevent accidental presses).
- If doing the above makes the keyboard look strange, it may be possible to make the touch-sensitive area of the Globe key slightly smaller than the key, to make it more difficult to hit by accident.
There seems to be significant interest in this, but we’ve had a few reservations:
1. Accidental triggering, which was a problem on some third-party keyboards. The solution Apple has adopted is to wait for a long-press on the space bar before activating.
2. This brings need to give up hold-space-to-repeat. Some say the tradeoff is worth it. Others suggest adding an option.
3. We cannot implement it as Apple has where the finger becomes a “joystick” that can move the cursor vertically as well as horizontally. All we can do is the way that Fleksy has done, sweeping back and forth horizontally.
4. Neither SwiftKey nor Gboard have attempted it, suggesting that a quality implementation is difficult.
We’ll explore this further.
Yes, I would say that Apple iOS keyboard's hold/slide function on the spacebar is _extremely_ useful (but not essential) for moving the cursor with precision, especially when you need to move a long way (further than using the arrow keys). It would be of _great benefit_. It is difficult to move the cursor a long distance by sliding on the text, as one often inadvertently selects the text.
It seems to me that having auto-repeat on the spacebar is beneficial to a small degree occasionally, but most users would not regret losing it, as repeatedly tapping the spacebar is not difficult. It seems to me that it is only rarely that most people would need multiple spaces.
The standard Apple iOS keyboard seems to have no problem with accidental triggering of the cursor move function (I have never triggered by accident). Even if some users trigger it accidentally, it's not a big problem. If you can come up with the same behaviour as the Apple iOS keyboard, that would be good. If you think it gets triggered accidentally too often, you could increase the delay before activation.
Hold/slide spacebar to move Cursor:
- Great benefit (for distance and precision)
- Distance and precision cursor movement function difficult to achieve in any other way
- On standard iOS keyboard, it is difficult to trigger accidentally, and it's not a big problem if it does.
Auto-repeat on spacebar:
- Limited benefit, only occasional usage for most users
- easily replicated by repeatedly tapping spacebar
In version 4.4 we’ve made some adjustments to the English iPhone layout. Please let us know your feedback, thanks.
Version 4.4.1 (2019-06-20) is a much-needed improvement for the English (UK) language, which now matches the US/AU/NZ/CA layouts: thanks and well done! It's nice to have the = and + signs available, and the new layout now has all the basic punctuation available with only a single modifier key press. Thank you again!
[iPhone 6/7/8 version]
I've finally discovered why I thought there was a layout change on 10 June...
There was actuallu no layout update: I must have accidentally switched from English (UK) to English (US), which has a different and superior layout. The English (UK) layout is vastly inferior to the standard Apple iOS keyboard, as it lack an equals (=) [Can you believe it has "greater than or equal to" (≥) and "less than or equal to" (≤) but it lacks an equals sign (=)?] and a degree (˚) symbol, and the colon (an extremely common punctuation mark, and which is also required for typing the time, lists and smileys) is annoyingly difficult to type, as it requires switching around to find the correct combination of two modifier keys (can you believe it is easier to type rarely-used Greek and mathematical symbols than it is to type a colon? The standard iOS keyboard is superior in this respect.)
The English (US) layout is far better: when you press Option, you get all the punctuation symbols you would expect (apart from the ones already accessible from the main keyboard): colon, semicolon, apostrophe, double quotes, hyphen, at the expense of omitting a few characters most people would never use: pi (π), phi (ø), delta (∆), a duplicate "@" and the fi/fl ligatures (which appear onscreen as separate letters anyway, not as ligatures, so having them on the English (UK) keyboard is wasting real estate).
Those people wanting delta, pi and phi could easily use the Apple iOS Greek language keyboard.
So what we need is for the English (UK) keyboard layout to match the English (US/AU/NZ/CA) layouts.
I wonder if you could update that? I'm sure UK users will be getting very frustrated by the missing equals sign and the colon, which is harder to type than on the standard iOS keyboard!
My advice to UK users is to use the English (AU/NZ) keyboard, as it has UK spelling with the superior version of the keyboard layout.
I wonder if the Padkeys team could comment on whether this could be done?
[I use Padkeys on an iPhone: I don't know if the iPad English (UK) version has the same problem]
[iPhone 6/7/8 version]
Dear Padkeys team,
Yesterday's layout update is a much-needed improvement! Thank you so much! All of a sudden yesterday it had an updated layout where the colon, semicolon, apostrophe and double quotes are where I expected them to be, and available with just a single modifier key: well done :). =
Now we can type a colon without fumbling around toggling the different modifier keys on and off to try to find the right combination!
It was very annoying that previously it was very easy to type a rare Greek or typesetting character, yet extremely difficult to type a colon.
While it may sound like it was only a minor issue, it was much more significant, as many users typically type colons many times a day (e.g. smileys, "Coming home at 7:30", "Isaiah 53:6"), and the standard Apple Keyboard was vastly superior than Padkeys for typing basic punctuation. For me it prevented me from recommending PadKeys to others. But not anymore: this simple update has made Padkeys what it should be.
The equals sign has returned after having vanished for some weeks (at least on the iPhone version!). [I was very annoyed when it vanished some weeks ago, whilst the less used <, >, ≤ and ≥ occupied a prominent place to the right of the letter M, where we would expect common punctuation marks to be found.]. Yesterday's layout update has fixed that.
Finally I now feel I can recommend Padkeys to others now that these issues are fixed.
Thank you again, guys.
[iPhone 6/7/8 version]
Hi Padkeys team,
The new update 4.4 is interesting, but it appears hardly an improvement.
[1.] Firstly, the Equals (=) sign no longer exists, at the expense of <, >, ≤, and ≥!!!!!!
[2.] Very disappointing that it is still very difficult to type a colon. Both Option + Shift and "hold-and-slide" methods are quite fiddly to use, especially if you are in a hurry to send your SMS text.
Given that we need the colon to type a smiley :) or :-), and the smiley is one of the most common punctuation marks used on a phone, it is quite disappointing.
In fact, sadly it is easier to type obscure Greek letters and typesetting symbols (after six months of using Padkeys, I have never used any of them) than it is to type a colon!
[3.] The Option keyboard seems to have changed a bit. I think it is now a bit easier to type a hyphen, apostrophes and double quotes than before, as I think they used to require two separate modifier keys to type.
[4.] I still think the Option keyboard should roughly follow the format of the standard Apple numeric entry keyboard. The special characters (Greek, Mathematical and typesetting symbols) can go where the numerals are, and in the suggestion bar area (if it is usable). I have attached a suggested format for the Option keyboard and the Option-Shift keyboard. Note that a lot of characters e.g. the Angstrom, copyright and C-cedilla characters have been removed from my suggested layout, as it is intuitive to put them in the "hold-and-slide" menus on the main keyboard.
(a). New users (and friends using your device) will expect standard English punctuation to be available when you press the button in the lower left of the keyboard
(b). We need to be able to type colons, underscores etc far more often than mathematical symbols and typesetting marks. It is just too fiddly to have to hunt around with _combinations_ of two modifier keys just to type a smiley face in an SMS text message, or to type the underscore in one's email address!
[5.] I'm not sure moving the double quote (") to Option-2 easier. Decades ago that was where it was on a typewriter keyboard, but it has been located at Shift-apostrophe on a keyboard for a long time.
[6.] It would be good if the "hold-and-slide" pop-up menus were as big as they are in the standard Apple keyboard! Your thumb obstructs visibility of the "hold-and-slide" symbols with the Padkeys keyboard.
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!