WP7 Virtual Keyboard: How Typing Became So EasyApril 29, 2011 No Comments
Microsoft put out a very interesting article yesterday on how the Windows Phoneâ€™s virtual (soft)Â keyboard came to be. I for one was very hesitant in purchasing my HD7 at launch since it had no physical keyboard. I used other â€˜all screenâ€™ devices before and they just felt so alien to me. When I first picked up the Windows Phone device and started typing, I was shocked to find how easy it was.
Microsoft Research and the Windows Phone team worked together to bring a really solid virtual keyboard and the best I personally have ever used. They did this with a lot of math/ geometry and user data. By guessing at what the user is trying to type and actually making the â€˜guessedâ€™ next letterâ€™s key area bigger.
By combining statistical models of language patterns and touch points, the keyboard dynamically changes the virtual size of the likely next letter, so that it has a larger target areaâ€”the area where tapping the keypad results in a particular letter, symbol, or number.
â€œWe donâ€™t show that visually,â€ Paek says. â€œIt all happens behind the scenes.â€
The keypad software analyzes what a user is typing, decides which letter is most likely to be typed next, and enlarges the virtual key area, so that hitting a â€œTâ€ results in a T, not a Y or an R.
In upcoming releases, the keypad even will take into account the speed at which a person is attempting to type.
â€œWhen youâ€™re typing really fast with two thumbs, the touch patterns are sloppy,â€ Paek says, â€œso you have to make the target area even bigger.â€
This is pretty interesting stuff and I am glad they put in all that work because typing on the Windows Phone without a physical keyboard is a breeze. Also future improvements like taking account how fast your actually typing is very exciting news.
Here is the whole article: Microsoft Research