[App] Thumb Keyboard v1.5.1

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appelflap

Inactive Recognized Developer
Feb 9, 2008
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Note (nov 30, 2010): By now there are two versions: a lite version, published here (free) and a full version (paid) on the market. The full version will be continuously updated with new features, layouts, styles and more. The lite version will get no more updates.

(feb. 16, 2011) New thread for the full (paid-for) version created here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=948179 . Please post your requests, questions, comments etc in that thread. Thanks


------ initial announcement ----------


New thumb keyboard for easy thumb typing. The idea is simple. I've split the keyboard in two halfs, took them apart and placed them above each other (see screenshots). Result: much wider keys...


Somehow the brains does the remapping remarkably well. Left/right to up/down doesn't seem a problem. The result is that the keys can be defined with a greater width and that for thumb typing the phone can be hold in much more natural way.



Press-and-hold the keyboard icon for switching between layouts, settings and selecting another input method:

menu.png

I'm very curious what other users think about this concept... Also I'm very interested in getting feedback on the usability of this concept.



Site
App blog: http://thumbkeyboard.blogspot.com/

Little FAQ

Q: I don't see the keyboard after installing it
A: The procedure of selecting the keyboard is described in the screen you see right after you have installed the keyboard. It's described in the section "Selecting the Keyboard". You can consult this info at any given time by tapping on the Thumb Keyboard app in your app drawer.
Basically the procedure is as follows: go to the Android keyboard settings menu by selecting "Settings" or "Preferences" in your app drawer and then "Keyboard ...". In this menu check "Thumb Keyboard". Now, when you want to edit something and your normal keyboard pops up, long tap in the edit field and select "Thumb Keyboard" from the "Input Method" menu.

Q: How can I switch to another layout or set up my preferences for the keyboard
A: Also described in the info screen under the header "Setting up the Keyboard". Anyway... long press on the keyboard icon in the left corner at the bottom of the keyboard to access the settings menu and to switch layouts.

Q: I can't download the file that is attached to this post.
If you try to download it from your Android phone keep in mind that not all browsers support downloading apk files directly. You can either try another browser, use a download helper or download it from your pc/mac

Q: Will this keyboard help me to find answers to some urgent existential questions?
A: No. But you can always read a good philosophy book and make notes with this keyboard.

Q: Huh?
A: kidding


Changelog

v1.5.1 * missing accented characters added * solved spacing issues in the accented character popup keyboards * added a numpad popup keyboard (press and hold [email protected]) * Some additions to the help/info screen"

v1.5 * New Style * International (accented) characters * Popup Smiley Keyboard * Option to mark keyboard blocks with different colors * Numbers on the compact keyboard * Checkerboard Vibrate Pattern * option to set vibration strength * etc (Compatible with Android 1.6 and higher)
(Users who already downloaded the 1.5 version are adviced to download the (new) attached version again)

v1.4.1: Small update: * added a extra, redundant "g" to the "asdf" row to address more typing habits. * made the keyboard suitable for all possible screen densities


v1.4: *finally adapted the landscape keyboards for thumbtyping (see screenshot) *added new portrait layouts with a squeezed q for better accessibility of the t (see screenshot) *changed the layout of the symbol/num keyboards

v1.3: Added help info + caught a bug or two

v1.2.1: = 1.2 + little bug fixed (and . added to the first symbol screen)

v1.2: Changed the behavior of the Shift-key: *Double tap on Shift key to turn on/off Caps Lock * auto capitalize after period (can be turned off in preferences)


v1.1:
  • New additional small layout
  • QWERZ keyboard layouts (Big and Small)
  • (1 Gesture added) Swipe back for backspace
  • Sound bug fixed
  • Remember: long press menu icon for options and settings
v 1.0 release



Distribution
I will not allow any distribution of this keyboard without a explicit permission by me.

Full Version
The full version (with text prediction, themes, tablet layouts, resizable height, sound selection, auto quick fix, etc. etc.) is available on the Android Market and on AndroidPIT (paypal)
 

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niscrome

Senior Member
Aug 23, 2009
69
2
0
Texas
Like the concept. It is almost like my left and right thumb knew which keyboard to use. Maybe you can try changing one of the space keys for special characters or hard press on letters for special characters. I like the idea although I have to trade it for screen real-estate. Not bad, indeed a lot of work need to be done but I'm definitly keeping my eyes on the this. Thank you.
 

appelflap

Inactive Recognized Developer
Feb 9, 2008
4,204
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Utrecht
Like the concept. It is almost like my left and right thumb knew which keyboard to use. Maybe you can try changing one of the space keys for special characters or hard press on letters for special characters. I like the idea although I have to trade it for screen real-estate. Not bad, indeed a lot of work need to be done but I'm definitly keeping my eyes on the this. Thank you.
thanks for your feedback. I've changed the layout a bit (concept remains the same). After some testing and some feedback from others I decided to place the spacebar, backspace key etc on the default location.. The result is much better.
 

nutweevil

Senior Member
Jun 16, 2010
84
3
0
Coimbra
this new version looks better!

i will try it very soon but is very unlikely for it to replace swype or swiftkey.

still, as soon as i try it i can give you some more feedback (will be about portuguese writing, i'm afraid)
 

nutweevil

Senior Member
Jun 16, 2010
84
3
0
Coimbra
Im testing this keyboard right now.
I just found a few bugs.

1. When starting writing caps lock is on and doesnt go off after the first letter.

2. Every time i use backspace it erases two lettrrs instead of one.

3. It may be me but im missing so much more lettrrs.


i believe most of my writting is done with one hand.


edit:
i gave up writing in my nexus. its too hard for me :(
i'm sorry and i hope you dont get mad at me but i'm not very confident in this keyboard. at least i tried it. hope you understand. stil... good luck

Sent from my Nexus One using XDA App
 

appelflap

Inactive Recognized Developer
Feb 9, 2008
4,204
829
0
Utrecht
Im testing this keyboard right now.
I just found a few bugs.

1. When starting writing caps lock is on and doesnt go off after the first letter.

2. Every time i use backspace it erases two lettrrs instead of one.

3. It may be me but im missing so much more lettrrs.


i believe most of my writting is done with one hand.


edit:
i gave up writing in my nexus. its too hard for me :(
i'm sorry and i hope you dont get mad at me but i'm not very confident in this keyboard. at least i tried it. hope you understand. stil... good luck

Sent from my Nexus One using XDA App
Don't get me wrong. I write this stuff because I need it myself and I share it because, you know, maybe others can use it too. So how can I be mad... I myself like and use this keyboard very much.

As for the bugs you reported. Yes, I can reproduce them and fix them asap.

BTW what makes this keyboard hard to use for you, the bugs or the layout
 

nutweevil

Senior Member
Jun 16, 2010
84
3
0
Coimbra
my biggest problem with the keyboard is that i'm missing too many letters. its like i was trying to say. i dont know why but i believe i dont miss as many with other keyboards, or they correct me, i dont know :\

the keyboard layout seamed like a really good idea but first i noticed i'm not using that much the two hands to write in my everyday writing. neither swiftkey, neither swype need two hands so i guess that may be my second problem. i dont get extra speed for using two hands with either of these two keyboards i'm used to.

Also, i believe you're taking too much of useful space for the keyboard. 2/3 of the screen is too much i think. maybe a solution with less used space? Another thing: at first i did understand the idea: get bigger and better letters. but now you have reduced the size of them again and they are just in a different position than the regular keyboards. why dont you try a little bigger than atm? you can remove the arrows and redistribute the numbers in the left overs. i will try to make a draw of my idea.

the two small bugs i reported are less of it ;)


why dont you try to implement Dvorak keyboard. That keyboard was designed to increase the speed writing and the letters position was carefully selected. Also, it already has many languages configuration already selected so it would be only needed to change this configuration for each language.

more about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dvorak_Simplified_Keyboard
 

appelflap

Inactive Recognized Developer
Feb 9, 2008
4,204
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Utrecht
my biggest problem with the keyboard is that i'm missing too many letters. its like i was trying to say. i dont know why but i believe i dont miss as many with other keyboards, or they correct me, i dont know :\

the keyboard layout seamed like a really good idea but first i noticed i'm not using that much the two hands to write in my everyday writing. neither swiftkey, neither swype need two hands so i guess that may be my second problem. i dont get extra speed for using two hands with either of these two keyboards i'm used to.

Also, i believe you're taking too much of useful space for the keyboard. 2/3 of the screen is too much i think. maybe a solution with less used space? Another thing: at first i did understand the idea: get bigger and better letters. but now you have reduced the size of them again and they are just in a different position than the regular keyboards. why dont you try a little bigger than atm? you can remove the arrows and redistribute the numbers in the left overs. i will try to make a draw of my idea.

the two small bugs i reported are less of it ;)


why dont you try to implement Dvorak keyboard. That keyboard was designed to increase the speed writing and the letters position was carefully selected. Also, it already has many languages configuration already selected so it would be only needed to change this configuration for each language.

more about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dvorak_Simplified_Keyboard
You noticed that you don't thumb type, it that case I understand all of your points. I designed the keyboard for use with two hands. The keys are wider (maybe as wide as in portrait mode and the height is, I think enough. So yes there is a big difference: look at the first row (qwert) and the 4th (yuiop) and picture them as 1 row, then you see what I mean.

Nevertheless, thanks for your comments. I'll see if I can use it.

Dvorak is a great keyboard layout btw, but a solution to a different problem.
 

nutweevil

Senior Member
Jun 16, 2010
84
3
0
Coimbra
i understood in the process that in order to help you, or in order to try to help you i need to use both thumbs. i'm doing it now.

its indeed easy to see that your keyboard is wider than default by looking at the qwert-yuiop.

i still believe the arrows arent needed. we have a finger to select where we want the cursor or a trackball... so... its just space used in my opinion.

i also believe that the shift isnt at the best spot. why do you require shift at such a great position? It isnt used that much.

the "?" should be near the "enter key". maybe instead of the backspace? i would place backspace in the "3" area, in top the the "op". maybe a little bigger than the others?

isnt the "t" too fair away from the left thumb?
 
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appelflap

Inactive Recognized Developer
Feb 9, 2008
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Utrecht
i understood in the process that in order to help you, or in order to try to help you i need to use both thumbs. i'm doing it now.

its indeed easy to see that your keyboard is wider than default by looking at the qwert-yuiop.

i still believe the arrows arent needed. we have a finger to select where we want the cursor or a trackball... so... its just space used in my opinion.

i also believe that the shift isnt at the best spot. why do you require shift at such a great position? It isnt used that much.

the "?" should be near the "enter key". maybe instead of the backspace? i would place backspace in the "3" area, in top the the "op". maybe a little bigger than the others?

isnt the "t" too fair away from the left thumb?




what do you think? any valid thoughts now? ;)
Yep, very valid thoughts :) Like this feedback. I have to say that some of your points crossed my mind when designing the keyboard.

Some points I want to address:
First, I think the shift key and backspace key are on the wright position because one expect those keys there while typing. I did some tests with some fluent thumbtypers with a previous version in which I moved the backspace to another position and they all, without exception were a bit disoriented. I think the same will be the case with the shift key.

Concerning the postion keys: I don't think they are a waste of space, but I really like more feedback on this. To go to a exact position by touching the location is not that easy is my experience. (For example: misspelling the word imagene and then going back to the e is much easier by pressing 3 times the left key than to select that position with a finger)

Thanks for your feedback.

EDIT: your point about the "t" being too far from the edge is a very good point. But then again it's better than in the landscape scenario.
 
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MeOverTrance

Senior Member
Oct 12, 2010
77
4
0
Pure genius ! I am surprised no one has thought of this before. Just a questions
Is there a way to turn off the clicking noises ? My phone is on silent and I don't see anything wrong in the Sounds menu but yet the noises are there
 

nutweevil

Senior Member
Jun 16, 2010
84
3
0
Coimbra
Is there a way to turn off the clicking noises ? My phone is on silent and I don't see anything wrong in the Sounds menu but yet the noises are there
(Press-and-hold the keyboard icon for settings and fast selecting another keyboard)

here you have the option to turn it off but actually the keys keep making the sound =P


@appelflap
have you noticed you have 5-4-3 letters in the top left and 5-5-4 letters in the right bottom? what if you removed one line and got that "shift-z-x-c" in the same line as "y-u-i-o-p"? to extra "help", you could change the color of the keys. This way it would be a suggestion of which thumb (left or right) to be used.

i keep my idea: the arrows arent that great =P by removing those you could try this, i believe.
 
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nolageek

Senior Member
Oct 24, 2007
873
59
0
Washington, DC
queerandloathing.com
I love the idea but I really don't understand the point of it in it's current configuration. The keys seem to be the exact same size to me except they've been moved around. I mean, the keyboard isn't THAT small to begin with so unless the new configuration makes them bigger the only thing that seems to be accomplish is making my hold my thumbs in staggered positions... I don't see the benefit in that. (Maybe because I'm on an evo with a larger screen and therefore with a larger keyboard to begin with?)

I'm not going to refund since I want to see where this goes but I don't think it'll be my every-day keyboard for now. Good job though!
 

appelflap

Inactive Recognized Developer
Feb 9, 2008
4,204
829
0
Utrecht
I love the idea but I really don't understand the point of it in it's current configuration.
So you like the concept but you don't like the way it is implemented in the current configuration. That is something you must elaborate on, because it looks you have a interesting, implicit (not tacit) intuition.

The keys seem to be the exact same size to me except they've been moved around. I mean, the keyboard isn't THAT small to begin with so unless the new configuration makes them bigger the only thing that seems to be accomplish is making my hold my thumbs in staggered positions... I don't see the benefit in that. (Maybe because I'm on an evo with a larger screen and therefore with a larger keyboard to begin with?)
The keys are much wider. Just take the "qwert" of the first row and the "yuiop" of the fourth and picture them together in one row. The reason you think they aren't that much bigger is maybe because in comparisson to regular keyboard the height is smaller. The result is square keys with a simular height and width.
(I had to reduce the height because of the fact that I had to introduce more rows)

With regular keyboards I concluded that much of my typing errors were caused by hitting adjacent keys on a same row. That's what this layout is supposed to prevent and in my opinion it does a good job in that. The reducing of the height has no influence on the amount of errors I make. (I always thought that the extra height on regular keyboards was mere a suggestive thing)

In the end, what I'm trying to accomplish (and this is the most ambitious part), is to make blind thumb typing possible. I think with this layout that must be possible, only thing I have to introduce for this is a way to give thumbs some feedback so they can return to a fixed, initial position from where they can start of.. (like with a normal keyboard with markers on the "j" and "f")

I'm not going to refund since I want to see where this goes but I don't think it'll be my every-day keyboard for now. Good job though!
I hope you didn't feel obliged to donate. But thanks, also for your feedback. And please let me know if you have any suggestions, request etc. I hope with the comments and "thumb on" experience of users I can make this keyboard better.
 

appelflap

Inactive Recognized Developer
Feb 9, 2008
4,204
829
0
Utrecht
(Press-and-hold the keyboard icon for settings and fast selecting another keyboard)

here you have the option to turn it off but actually the keys keep making the sound =P
****, you're right! :D In theory it worked remarkably well :p Expect a little bug fix real soon.

@appelflap
have you noticed you have 5-4-3 letters in the top left and 5-5-4 letters in the right bottom? what if you removed one line and got that "shift-z-x-c" in the same line as "y-u-i-o-p"? to extra "help", you could change the color of the keys. This way it would be a suggestion of which thumb (left or right) to be used.
What a great idea!!! Really, brilliant. Thanks, I will definitely implement this idea.

i keep my idea: the arrows arent that great =P by removing those you could try this, i believe.
I guess that everyone has his own preference in this respect. My plan is to make the non-qwerty characters configurable. (But maybe I sacrifice those keys when moving the upper keyblock one row down)
 

appelflap

Inactive Recognized Developer
Feb 9, 2008
4,204
829
0
Utrecht
Pure genius ! I am surprised no one has thought of this before. Just a questions
Is there a way to turn off the clicking noises ? My phone is on silent and I don't see anything wrong in the Sounds menu but yet the noises are there
tapping-and-holding the keyboard icon will bring you to a setting menu in which you can not turn off the sounds :p (Kidding, It's a bug, but there you should have the possibility to turn off the sound)
 
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