Custom keyboard progress
A week ago we launched build 45 to the App Store. Thanks to all of our beta testers, this has proven to be a very successful build with no major bugs, so we've been able to focus entirely on the new custom keyboard, and get a little bit of rest, smile. That said, the custom keyboard is still in a very early stage and development has proven to be quite challenging. You should now have received build 53 on TestFlight as well as the accompanying changelog email. I also wanted to share an updated description here, which incorporates some of your feedback as well as all changes to date. This will slowly become what the beta group will read when they first try the custom keyboard. It's also a good idea to give this a read and make sure you are aware of all the points below.
Introducing the FlickType custom keyboard! Things to note:
- The main app will still work as usual after updating to this version. You must also open the main app once right after updating and before attempting to use the custom keyboard, otherwise the custom keyboard will crash.
- To use, go to any textfield such as a note or mail field and double tap to edit. Switch to FlickType from the "Next keyboard" button at the bottom left of the iOS keyboard.
- To interact with the app behind the FlickType keyboard, flick down with three fingers to dismiss it. This gesture may change.
- To switch back to the iOS keyboard at anytime, tap and hold anywhere.
- There is currently no way to explore the keyboard and type characters accurately. Instead, the usual tap and hold will switch you back to the iOS keyboard where you can perform that task and come back. This also means there is no custom dictionary management at the moment, and your existing words will not work yet.
- To control the cursor, flick left or right with two fingers to move one word at a time. Use 3 fingers to navigate by entire sentences. Sentence navigation can also be used as a workaround for the current lack of read back function.
- There is a visual keyboard indicator for low-vision folks, in the form of 2 horizontal white bars representing the top and bottom rows.
- Introducing the FlickType "visual announcements", designed to better help low-vision and hearing-impaired folks use the product. All VoiceOver typing announcements for inserting, deleting and changing words will now also be displayed as high-contrast text using the largest possible font size that fits the entire screen above the keyboard area.
- When moving the cursor or editing previously existing text, you might be unable to change the suggestion for some words or punctuation, unless you delete and re-enter them.
- Most of the main app settings are ignored and their functions are unavailable, apart from the tap sound and haptic feedback settings.
- Tap sound effects are a bit delayed as they play on touch up rather than touch down.
- Fast typing with multiple fingers may result in missed taps.
- Flick gestures do not have any sound effects.
- There is no flick left and hold gesture to delete faster.
- The first ever word you type may take a couple of seconds to be announced.
- Editing text with new lines, or sharing to undo may cause a crash.
There's probably a lot more things that are missing or different. By becoming more integrated into your flow, there's also a lot of things that we are looking to learn from this release. Please experiment as much as possible, tell us what works well, but also tell us what the biggest pain points are. Finally, this is completely uncharted territory, so besides positive and negative feedback, we are also hoping to hear your more general ideas about what the ideal FlickType custom keyboard could be, so that we can make it happen.
We are both really looking forward to hearing what you all think, smile!
Kosta & Ashley