What I want from an Android keyboard

By on June 29, 2014 - Opinion

So I find myself forever frustrated by Android keyboards1. I never accepted a soft keyboard until (a) nobody made hard keyboard devices any more and (b) Swype became popular. I love Swype, and found myself using it even more than the physical keyboard on the last android phone which had one.

However, the implementations of Swype (or Glide or whatever each vendor calls it) have gone rapidly downhill in one way: they no longer believe the keyboard user. Apparently most people only vaguely get near the letters they need — so autopredict has gone into overdrive, always assuming the letters pressed have no relevance to the word desired2.

This doesn’t work for me.

I am very accurate with my entry. I watch my finger hit dead center on each key I want to use… and then observe that the word I entered isn’t on screen, nor in the suggestions. This is deeply frustrating. When I enter “ale” I mean the alcoholic drink. I cannot fathom why it enters “are” when my finger traced all the way to the “L”, and “ale” doesn’t even appear in the suggestions. Likewise when I try “wait” I get “wake”. My finger never approached the “E”.

Worse yet that even when I spell out the words letter by letter, many of these keyboards will replace my carefully poked out word with another, and give me zero option to revert the change. I’ve had to learn to hit two spaces, then go back and poke out my word in between the spaces so that it won’t invoke the “fixxer”.

And worst of all, almost every autocorrection is grammatically incorrect. So it’s not like the logic is better–it’s worse.

I want something very simple. I want auto-correction, but I want the keyboard to defer to and prefer what I actually typed. Suggest other words, but stop removing my perfectly valid word and replacing it with something grammatically incorrect.

1 While I am a Mac user and lover, IOS doesn’t work for me. I don’t think that way. Every time I am forced to use an IOS device I can’t find my way in or out of anything. So I’m a Mac-using Android advocate.

2 And yes, even recent versions of the paid Swype keyboard do this.