Is the Windows Phone Keyboard just another piece of crud from the “soft” keyboard crowd? Or is it something that has a lot of thought behind it? I am going for the lot of thought behind it.
As a person who views the lame keyboard system on the iPad as a way to slow down thinking and entering information, having to use a softkeyboard was not something I looked forward to.
When I first got my WP7 phone, I longed for the handwriting recognition that was on the earlier Windows Phones (but not much else did I long for), having to use that part of my brain to type on the soft keyboard was painful. In one Microsoft conference I kept trying to use the WP7 in the same way as I did with the handwriting, but people took negative notice of the use of keyboarding. So I stopped that, now I have to go a pretend that I am talking to someone on the phone while I make my usual careful notes. Let’s face it, people do not like others keyboarding while they have conversations, handwriting on the other hand is considered an ok thing. Oh well.
Also, I can easily type over 60 words per minute, and if you are a student in a class of mine who can’t touch type, well I make a point of motivating you to be a touch typer. However, on any smartphone that isn’t happening.
What kind of thought has gone into the Windows Phone 7 keyboard, this article describes just what Microsoft Research did:
And for an interesting paper on Usability (or playability in game design):
The Touch touch revolution has definitely helped me to get my softkeyboard average from 18 to 26 words per minute, but it is still frustrating to be so limited by the keyboard.
Take a look at these papers, it is a real insight.