| | 05-04-2013, 02:41 AM #1
Saw a few threads about people unhappy about the Windows phone keyboard:
Windows Phone Keyboard Design is a major Issue
Transitioning from iPhone keyboard to WP7 keyboard...
And also noticed the vast difference in how people tend to describe the WP keyboard (From poor to great).
I did some testing and found some truly very surprising results.
1. Whoever uses English, pls switch to English (US). WP offers 3 English keyboards; US, UK and India. However they are not even slightly close in terms of how good they are. The keyboard suggestions and prediction in English (US) are leagues ahead of English (UK). English (India) is basically MS trolling Indian users. You can test this for yourself by switching the keyboard you usually use to either of the other two. If indeed you prefer British English, the workaround I have been using it entering all the spellings with Zs instead of Ss manually but for the most part, no one really cares if you type it in the US way.
2. With people complaining about the capitalisation of the "i". This again comes down to which English kb you are using. US capitalises it automatically whereas English (UK) and (India) leave it alone as a lower case i. I have no idea why MS chooses to implement different algorithms for each rather than merely different dictionaries but they definitely seem different.
3. I read statements around the web that if your "Phone language", "Country/region" and keyboard language do not match, the auto correct/prediction works differently to account for possibility of user switching languages on the fly in the same message. I could not confirm this but this is quite important so would love some help or confirmation on this :)
When people say they love/hate the kb, they could be talking about any number of things (touch accuracy, auto correct aggressiveness, *lack* of auto correct aggressiveness, prediction etc) which makes it hard when one person is arguing they love the KB (but judging purely from touch accuracy) whereas another person hates it (but reason being the auto correct is not aggressive enough)
Regarding touch accuracy, WP seems to have gone through various "phases". There were at least 3 distinct ones, the original KB that was fantastic and universally loved, the NoDo or Mango update changed the backend touch zone resizing algorithms and this is the first time when I started seeing complaints from people. The final one is the WP8 KB which is closer to the 7.5 KB than to the 7 KB.
A lot of people finding issues with the touch accuracy or noticing their accuracy on current gen phones lower than the initial batch of phones from 2010 may actually be complaining about this.
Regarding auto-correction, the most important thing is to be on English (US) irrespective of what dialect you actually speak as the auto correct and suggestions are better for this than for the other variants of English but another curious thing is that WP auto correct is not customisable and is tailored towards a slow-medium typing experience. For comparison purposes, iOS auto correct is also not customisable but it is tailored towards a slow OR fast typing experience but losing out to WP on medium speeds (auto correct on iOS can be super aggressive and change entire words). Android's auto correct's aggressiveness can be customised and as such it can be optimally used for slow and deliberate, medium or fast typing. Basically, WP performs very very well if some attention is given to being accurate or a reasonable speed is maintained, however it doesn't seem conducive to fingers blazing away and getting most letters wrong since the auto correct will usually only fix typos and mi**** letters rather than stepping in and changing words and sentences (unlike iOS or Android on aggressive setting or Swiftkey).
This could be leading to some of the complaints as the people unhappy are the super fast typists whereas the people very happy with the hand-off auto correct are slow-medium typists. (I define fast as when your fingers are a blur and you are barely getting a single word completely right without auto correct stepping in. Switftkey is made for such people. Medium is what most experienced users would be and possibly be regarded as "Fast" by most people).
Before weighing in, pls note which exact OS and version you have had experience with since saying WP is way better than Android doesn't help since it was almost objectively true with WP7 vs Android 2.3 (stock) but I don't think its true anymore with WP8 vs Android 4.2 (stock). Also custom OEM Android keyboards (HTC Sense, Samsung TouchWiz) don't hold a candle to the stock keyboard and the custom 3rd party keyboard apps are typically orders of magnitude better (Swiftkey!)
In my personal opinion, Swiftkey > Android 4.2 (stock on Nexus 4) > iOS > WP8 (in terms of touch accuracy only, WP7 would be ahead of iOS for me) >>> HTC Sense 5 >>> Older Android stock keyboards >> Galaxy S4/Older Sense/Older TouchWiz (the S4 doesn't even have on-the-fly or in-place auto correct at all anymore, just suggestions)