In my days of using a legacy BlackBerry device I had considered myself a very dexterous typist, better than most. Until I got a touch

Text Input on A Touchscreen device

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In my days of using a legacy BlackBerry device I had considered myself a very dexterous typist, better than most. Until I got a touch screen phone.

Then my speed slowed down considerably. Despite all the hype over swiping and gesture-based input about how innovative and intuitive they are, none could match the way I could handle a BlackBerry. I am gradually getting used to it but as far as I’m concerned, if it’s not hardware, it can’t be like hardware.

The keyboard I use on my device is the WordFlow keyboard that comes bundled with Windows Phone 8.1 OS. As we all know, it is currently impossible to install and switch to third party software keyboards, but this appears to not be a problem for me, unlike the piece of crap that comes preinstalled on many stock Android devices this one is actually pretty good. It once held a world record for fastest touchscreen typing and has great reviews so I reckon it’s very much capable.

WordFlow can do both tapping and swipe input comfortably. I have resorted to using both for different situations. Swipe-based input for those times I am using the phone one-handed and I just want to compose a quick reply or write some short text. I use tap-typing for when I am really invested in the device, that’s when I raise the volume to get some tactile feedback.

Tactile feedback, of course, means tap typing. This is not to say I don’t gesture type, but I only do so the times when text input is a secondary activity or a side task that I want to quickly get over with.

Many would prefer to just tap while some will swear by gesture based input as the nirvana of typing text. What would be your preference?

When you look around, you observe that many don’t bother to use alternative keyboards and stick with what comes with their devices, while some others would go as far as installing up to 5 third party keyboards. Personally I find that wasteful, when you take one keyboard and stick to it for a while you get inured to how it works then it becomes an extension of your fingers. Eventually your typing speed and accuracy catches up, this has happened with me.

These days my typing speed has vastly improved, and I probably will be much less awesome at text input with another touch screen keyboard even if its innately better than WordFlow.
What do you think? Do you try out different keyboards or just stick to one? Are you a swiper or a tapper?

Share your views

7 comments

  1. Unlike The Piece Of Crap That Comes Preinstalled On Many Stock Android Devices This One Is Actually Pretty Good

    I Think That’s Hasty Generalization, Probably Borne Out Of Ignorance Of What Exists..

    Lots Of Android Devices Come Bundled With Excellent Keyboards. Prime Examples Are The Google Keyboard And The One Shipping With The Samsung Galaxy, AsWell As The Telepathic One That Comes With The LG G2/G3

    Basically, Am Of The Opinion That Touchscreen Input Has Too Many Advantages Over The Hardware One.

    The Major Advantage, For Me, Though, Is The Increased Screen Space For Actual Use. The Screen Is Impermanent In This Case.

    Being An Advocate Of Gargantuan Screen Space, I Would Sacrifice Almost Anything Else For SPACE.

    The Fact The Two World Typing Speeds Are Held By Touchscreen Keyboards(Swype, First, Then Wordflow, Second) Shows That Swiping (And By Extension, Touchscreen) Is Inherently Superior To Hardware Keyboard.

    I Couldn’t Imagine Myself Regressing By Going Back To Hardware Qwerty Keyboard. That’s Is Of The Jurassic Age.

    On Touchscreen, It’s A Mixture Of Tap Tapping And Swiping, With Tapping Taking Rpreeminence, Most Of The Time)

  2. Tapping takes preeminence for me.
    Switching to touchscreens, the longest I used was WP. Though I’ve used Samsung for a while and it was cool, WP keyboard simply blew me away, Its just a breeze as i type effortlessly.
    Fast forward to last week, I got an android tab, larger than my Lumia phone, yet with all the available keyboards, its damn too clumsy, whereas on my 4.0″ Lumia, I rarely make mistakes.

  3. Interesting article. I’m a sworn swiper and would rather swipe, no matter the situation. I had my first taste of gesture typing with Touchpal Keyboard and the very first time I had the experience, I never looked back. Meanwhile I used my first Android phone for more than 4 months before discovering Touchpal Keyboard and gesture typing and never got used to tap-typing on the software QWERTY keyboard and I was always reverting to the the regular keypad mode included with the device.

    I transitioned from Touchpal Keyboard to Swype Keyboard and finally settled with Google Keyboard which I use presently as my primary keyboard for more than 90% of the time. I’ve gotten so used to swiping that the only time I ever tap to input text on my device is when teaching my keyboard new words and when inputting texts in text input fields that do not allow swiping.

    I’ve also typing on physical QWERTY keyboards and though I liked the existence with the Blackberry bold keyboards, I cannot type fast on it or any other physical QWERTY keyboard. The only physical QWERTY keyboard that I’m happy typing on is that of full desktop keyboard or laptop but on mobiles, it can only be swiping. And yes, I believe physical QWERTY keyboards on mobiles is outdated and should be phased out completely.

    My opinion is that swiping is more natural than any other input method and that’s where we should have started in the first place and whoever is not swiping on touchscreen device is missing a lot.

  4. Wordflow does it for me when ever am into that BBM or Whatsapp chat i turn up the sound just like you said to hear the sound feedback and swipe the long words just to save time. And if u think one is not your thing try it first to enjoy the best of both worlds the decide.

  5. I was an apostle of SwiftKey and gesture typing then I met Flesky and the Apostleship abruptly ended…. so tapping works better for me.
    I still prefer a hardware keyboard though.

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