15 December, 2014

Swype On iOS 8

I'll be frank - custom keyboards was the only thing I was looking forward to on iOS 8, and they botched this up. iOS 8 is a disappointment so far. I mean, these are the issues not relating to the custom keyboards:
  1. Apple backpedaled and killed Photo Stream and Camera Roll, then they backpedaled again and restored Camera Roll in 8.1
  2. Annoying reminders that mobile data is turned off for certain apps
  3. App Store - STILL no sorting or filtering
  4. For no reason, writing reviews in the App Store has a huge font
  5. Only cursory, token support for adjusting text size, even in the built-in apps. http://lowvisionrants.com/2013/12/26/where-ios-7s-dynamic-type-works-and-where-it-fails/
  6. SMS - swiping the notification from the Lock Screen or tapping it in Notification Center used to bring you to the Messages app, now this is hit-and-miss
  7. Did they really create an unremovable app to show me 19 random tips? Apple products have never had good, thorough manuals. I suspect it's because they expect their products to be "intuitive". Seems very stupid to add features and not tell people about them, but whatever. Looks like too many of their features are going unnoticed, so they created the Tips app. But it's of no use and can't be removed.
Apple has lost their famous attention to detail, they can't get their basics right and they're losing ground.

Anyway, I was glad to have more choices for keyboards, because phones have come a long way, but text input is way waay behind. I thought Swype would be much much better, but there are some caveats:
  • You can only use one hand.
  • You have to get the word right in one try. You can't break up long words. This is especially a problem if you're having sensitivity issues or accidentally move out of the keyboard area.
  • You can't use the iOS shortcuts. You can't use any custom shortcuts whatsoever.
  • Punctuation is a pain
  • The first version had some really really stupid things, like asking me to add single numbers to my dictionary. I know this is their first time on iOS, but they've been on Android for years now, so I expect more than a beta-level development.
The net result is that Swype's benefit is minimal to nonexistent. Limiting yourself to only one hand already cuts speed by about 50%, and Swype definitely isn't 200% as fast as the iOS keyboard.

Since it looks like they still have no idea how to make a user-friendly keyboard, I'm putting this here for them:
  1. Always have an undo option
  2. TELL PEOPLE WHEN YOU'RE GOING TO REPLACE WHAT THEY TYPE. It's really obvious that there are 2 distinct situations 1) the keyboard suggests a word, but leaves what you type 2) the keyboard will replace what you type with their suggestion. I don't know why they don't make this clear.
  3. BE CONSISTENT - if I type some letters and it suggests a word, if I type more letters of that word, THE SUGGESTION SHOULD NOT CHANGE. If I type other letters then remove them, THE SUGGESTION SHOULD COME BACK.
  4. I'm looking at you iOS - if you have a space above the keyboard for suggestions, STICK TO IT. Don't suggest words at the cursor anymore. Don't have suggestions all over the page.

I typed "leave early" and iOS suggested "peace early". This is some rage-inducing programming right here. Seriously? Are they even trying?

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