We're Natural Designs Software, and we're the developers of PadKeys, a popular on-screen keyboard for the iPad. As featured in:
PadKeys is based on a very simple idea: the tablet screen is actually big enough to provide numbers and punctuation keys just like on a regular laptop keyboard, rather than needing to switch layouts. We threw in cursor keys and a few other goodies as well, and our users have been very happy with the results.
But in fact, phones have gotten a lot bigger too since the old says, and many of our users asked us if we could bring the same great functionality to the iPhone as well. So here we are!
We've already built a prototype, as seen in the video, but we need to develop it further to make it really usable. We need to improve the swipe input recognition, because we believe swipe is fundamental for text input on phones, and we need to fine-tune the layout -- just like we did originally for the iPad -- so it's ergonomic and easy to use.
But enough generalities. Let's get straight down to the specifics!
What is PadKeys Keyboard going to give you on your phone?
1) A Number Row
Never slow down to switch layouts when entering an address again. No worries either if you need to type in a tracking number, or add a date or time to a text or email.
This seems like an obvious win given how much screen height there is on phones these days, but the stock iOS keyboard doesn't provide this, and most third-party keyboards follow that lead. PadKeys will provide a number row straight out of the box.
2) Punctuation and symbols
How many times a day do you hit the '123' key when you're not even going to type a number? Maybe you're trying to add: a colon or a semicolon; or maybe just something (in parentheses). You just want to "quote" 'something', or maybe mention B&W Root Beer or Texas A&M University. Even a simple dash or hyphen (as in, "Hey, good-looking") requires coming here, and heaven forbid you'd like to type a + or =, since you've got to go to yet a third screen for that.
PadKeys provides most of these symbols in the same places you find them on your laptop keyboard. For example ! is shift-1. A few others are accessed using the Option (⌥) key, but always with their positions close to where they are on the laptop.
3) Cursor keys
For all those times you just want to go back and change one letter. First phones made you tap everywhere. Then they realized these are some pretty small targets and not everyone's got robotic stepping motors on their thumbs, so various mechanisms like popup magnifying glasses and slide-driven movements were put in. Still great for video game champs, but for regular humans, not so much.
PadKeys will give you cursor keys so you can just move back a couple of characters with a couple of taps. As simple as that.
4) Swipe input
Keyboards on other phone OSes let you swipe, and when you're working with a small screen area, sliding out a word can really be a lot quicker than pecking it. On iOS, the standard keyboard lacks this feature. PadKeys enables it.
5) Multiple languages
Not only will PadKeys on the iPhone provide dedicated keys for accented characters in several languages, but it will let you switch easily between two frequently-used languages with a single tap.
6) Enhanced autocorrect
PadKeys will deliver a complete learning autocorrect and suggestions facility, but that's not all. Turn the phone on its side and it will show you more than just three choices. Because, hey, why not use the screen space for something useful?
We need your help
So that's PadKeys iPhone: a tablet-inspired keyboard for the modern phone. We've already built a prototype, and if you back us with a $25 pledge or more, you can start trying it immediately. But we need your help to take it to the next level and add that last 10% that makes 100% of the difference. We'll use your funds to pay our developers and support our product testing to get us over that hump to deliver a best-in-class typing experience.
Who we are
We are Natural Designs Software, a small, independent software company that's focused on innovative user interfaces. Software should feel natural to use, following expectations we already have - even if we've never used an app before. We're based in upstate New York, with distributed team members in Finland, California, and Ukraine.
Here are some of the goodies we'll be giving to our backers!
Risks and challenges
We see few risks that would prevent us from delivering. We've already developed a successful, quality keyboard app, working around the limitations of the iOS APIs and getting through the App Store review process. We have a prototype working on the iPhone, and we have the personnel on board with the expertise needed to finish it off at a high level.
We're also experienced at listening to our users. If the product we deliver needs improvement, we'll collect feedback on the issues and work to resolve them in subsequent releases.
Please support our project and share this Kickstarter. Thank you from us and from all current and future users of PadKeys!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)