Recently, Chris McMahon passed on a link to me about a brand new methodology of using onscreen keyboards called Swype. While in it’s infancy, it seems really cool. Instead of touching each letter individually, you draw a path between letters and a word matching search engine helps to do a predictive text to speed you up. CNet did a quick video on their site about it from the TechCrunch50 show (see below). It would not work for every project, and introducing a new mindset on input may confuse your customers so you should only use it when appropriate to your audience. And expect to have to give assistance while people learn it, but it can provide an impactful WOW factor to your edgy project! You will definately have people talking about your software.
To integrate, it requires their software which includes an SDK that allows our developers to add the onscreen keyboard to your application. The Swype concept is made up of three major components:
- Input path analyzer
- Word matching search engine with accompanying word database
- User interface – which is customizable by OEM’s such as Electronic Art to match the branding of the application
I’d love to get a project where this would be appropriate, as it could really add some extra bling to the kiosk or digital signage project. Could that be your project?
A word of caution: No matter if you plan to use a physical keyboard or an onscreen keyboard such as the Swype system… always consider your customer. What will they prefer, what will be most intuitive and easy for them. Test with A/B testing if you have budget. But don’t let the input method get in the way of your killer app and kiosk’s success.