Author Topic: Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones  (Read 2223 times)

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Offline StaCT13

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« on: Mon, 17 October 2011, 21:13:19 »
Hey guys, I'm a user of dvorak for a few weeks now, and I was wondering the general feelings toward alternative layouts on your phone. I'm a big Android user (Viewnsonic GTab and a Droid Incredible that's still chugging), and I find Hacker Keyboard works quite well.

But what do you guys think? Are there better options out there? Or do you just not care and use the default QWERTY?

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Offline AUAnonymous

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 18 October 2011, 01:40:07 »
I'm a big fan of Swype on my android phone (Galaxy S II to be exact). When it works, it works really well, but on some occasions it can be a bit annoying. I'd still recommend giving it a try. If it didn't come preloaded on your phone like it does on many, you can get it by signing up on Swype's website and you'll be able to download it from there.

If you're looking for actual alternative layouts, I've found MultiLing Keyboard to be a good free option including lots of different layouts, including Dvorak and Colemak(!) as well as basically any foreign language you can think of.
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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 18 October 2011, 10:10:02 »
I'm a Colemak user and downloaded something for a Colemak keyboard on my phone, but rolling motions using just your thumbs don't work so well. I also realized that my ability to type Colemak is largely muscle memory based and when looking at the actual keyboard layout I have a hard time. I'd have to guess that Dvorak's alternation is much better for phone usage, I recall someone saying that in a Dvorak review as well.
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Offline battlesheep

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 19 October 2011, 06:17:28 »
im looking for an app that lets you customize the keyboard on android phones too!
pls let me know if you find one, ill pay 10$ for it if not more!

hold key pressed to switch to numbers or alt key symbols, say what???
have to switch keyboards to get one tab number keys? wha???
tiny backspace key and its at the bottom of the kb??? why???
enter is on the far bottom?
spacebar is too small
to get to = you have to
1. switch to the number and special character keyboard on the bottom right
2. click on page 2 of the numbers and special characters on the bottom left
3. switch back to the standard qwerty keyboard on the bottom right
4. switch to the number keyboard on the bottom right again cause you probably want to type numbers after using the = key... makes sense?
NIGHTMARE!!!!
arrow keys are spread out from left to right at the far bottom of the kb? who the h3ll came up with this layout???

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 01 December 2011, 02:58:39 »
Quote from: oneproduct;433559
I'm a Colemak user and downloaded something for a Colemak keyboard on my phone, but rolling motions using just your thumbs don't work so well. I also realized that my ability to type Colemak is largely muscle memory based and when looking at the actual keyboard layout I have a hard time. I'd have to guess that Dvorak's alternation is much better for phone usage, I recall someone saying that in a Dvorak review as well.

I'm an iPhone-hole. I use Colemak on a Kinesis Advantage. I appreciate your insight on the phone-keyboard-thumb-difference.

Info is power!
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Offline davkol

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 01 December 2011, 16:49:51 »
I'm a Colemak user and I keep using default software keyboards on my pocket devices, because I can't type fast without any feedback. IMHO the best input ever is the original Graffiti (very effective handwriting recognition) on PalmOS, but it's impossible to use anything like this on those stupid capacitive touchscreens.

Offline fireball87

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 01 December 2011, 17:43:06 »
I don't know of any good thumb keyboard layouts, if there were ones it'd probably require a complete remapping of the layout.
(or a completely new input system then tapping, but most of the attempts of that have been relatively poor)
Currently with the options I've seen available, I think good predictive text is more important then the layout options.

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 01 December 2011, 17:48:33 »
Very interesting. A new layout optimized for thumb-typing. Hmmmm....first I've ever heard or thought of that. Thread started going in that direction with the dvorak comment earlier...but now it's at a whole new level...

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Offline Martin227

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 20 December 2011, 14:05:47 »
There are some people that have already done extensive research on the subject. I've attached the PDF (was apparently unable to link it).

In my opinion though, it's a good idea to stick to QWERTY in order to keep yourself familiar to it, so even if you touch-type an alternative layout you can still type visually on other people's computers – not to mention their phones.
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Offline dorkvader

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 20 December 2011, 21:30:00 »
Martin, thanks for the PDF, I'm reading it now.

You need 15 posts before they let you post links here, though :(

Offline fireball87

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 20 December 2011, 23:39:45 »
I'm sure that there are better materials then that though, that is designed for stylus or mouse typing, which is a different beast entirely to 2 thumb typing.  Still closer then keyboard typing, but still not so far away.  (there's a reason that most of those layouts have the best keys centered, they're all more or less weighted ring layouts, exactly what you'd want for single input typing).  2 thumb typing would have the most popular keys populated on the sides, and heavily favor alternation.

Offline cactux

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #11 on: Tue, 20 December 2011, 23:43:17 »
I do not
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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #12 on: Wed, 21 December 2011, 00:06:05 »
There's already something like this called GKOS. You can download it on the iPhone or check here:

[video=youtube;BLoXF3n682w]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLoXF3n682w[/video]
[video=youtube;1CrXa8_skSg]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CrXa8_skSg[/video]
Filco Tenkeyless | Realforce Tenkeyless Variable Silent | Truly Ergonomic | Kinesis Contoured Advantage | IBM Model M SSK | Cherry G80-3600LYC | TG3 w/ trackpad | CM Storm QuickFire Rapid | Ergodox
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Offline dorkvader

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #13 on: Wed, 21 December 2011, 01:09:21 »
I used a pretty cool typing thing in linux, where you can "focus in" on words/letters sorted alphabetically. They had larger "bins" or "areas" depending on frequency, but you could type gibberish if you wanted. It can be used with limited movement, and was pretty efficient. I forgot the name, but it was pretty cool.

That gkos is pretty chorded, I'm sure it'd take a while to learn....

Offline Martin227

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #14 on: Wed, 21 December 2011, 04:28:19 »
Quote from: fireball87;474934
I'm sure that there are better materials then that though, that is designed for stylus or mouse typing, which is a different beast entirely to 2 thumb typing.  Still closer then keyboard typing, but still not so far away.  (there's a reason that most of those layouts have the best keys centered, they're all more or less weighted ring layouts, exactly what you'd want for single input typing).  2 thumb typing would have the most popular keys populated on the sides, and heavily favor alternation.
You bring up a good point – while I don't think people type two-thumbed more often than they do single-thumbed, the times when you do want haste you'll certainly be freeing up both thumbs for the job.
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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #15 on: Mon, 26 December 2011, 04:36:51 »
There is also MYKB for the iPhone, but I have never taken the time to deal with it. I was trying to make Colemak, then I realized that there were other issues to consider. You use that app in a horizontal mode only.
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Offline AUAnonymous

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #16 on: Thu, 05 January 2012, 01:41:59 »
If you want a really alternative keyboard and you have and Android phone you can try out 8pen. It's very different to say the least. If you want to try it out for free just download the 8pen wordcup game from the market first.
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Offline Playtrumpet

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #17 on: Thu, 05 January 2012, 12:36:36 »
Quote from: AUAnonymous;483634
If you want a really alternative keyboard and you have and Android phone you can try out 8pen. It's very different to say the least. If you want to try it out for free just download the 8pen wordcup game from the market first.
I made serious effort months ago to become proficient in 8pen and it didn't take long before I was using it on a blank screen. However, I just couldn't imagine getting up to the speed of a normal layout. =\ It can be a really fun way to type, but I just don't think it's fast enough.
« Last Edit: Thu, 05 January 2012, 12:39:14 by Playtrumpet »
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Offline battlesheep

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #18 on: Mon, 30 April 2012, 01:29:05 »
8pen is stupid, it essentially makes us learn a new alphabet...
technology has to serve us, not we have to serve technology... :P

have you guys tried "hacker keyboard" on android?
its the best keyboard i found so far... in portrait mode its pretty much the standard keyboard, but in landscape you get a full keyboard layout, everything!
you can customize the size of the keys, you can customize how long the phone vibrates once you hit a hit, so tactile feedback is awesome...
AND, i emailed the developer and he added a neat feature i recommended, you can customize the top row of icons/keys and make it whatever you want... and you can scroll through the top row by dragging it left and right

i added special characters to the top row that i use frequently, mostly for smileys hahah...
works great for me!

now if only i could truly customize the keyboard, add keys, remove keys, reprogram keys...

btw, what really psses me off is that whenever i enable my bluetooth keyboard, samsung forces me to switch back to the crappy default keyboard!
argh! i can then manually switch back to any custom keyboard and it works fine... i dont even get why samsung has this weird limitation built in, whats the point? sigh...

Offline dorkvader

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #19 on: Mon, 30 April 2012, 02:20:16 »
Quote from: battlesheep;586108
you can customize the size of the keys, you can customize how long the phone vibrates once you hit a hit, so tactile feedback is awesome...
Haptics is one of those things that is inherently very useful, but if implemented poorly can be worse than useless. Given that it's highly dependent on the user in question, I don't understand why everything doesn't have user-configurable haptics already. The fact that this app does scores it major points in my book, but I prefer a great degree of customization to my UI.

Offline Vermilion

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Alternate Layouts on Mobile Phones
« Reply #20 on: Sun, 10 June 2012, 08:46:35 »
I've had a lot of luck with the latest beta of SwiftKey in portrait mode with Colemak UK, good support for alternative layouts and configurable haptics. I'd consider switching to another keyboard if I could heavily customise the layout, the dedicated .com key is extremely frustrating when typing addresses and messes with my muscle memory.