There is an interesting article that I stumbled across through WMPoweruser about the software keyboard used in Windows Phone. The story behind the keyboard is an interesting one and is not surprising when you consider that the Windows Phone keyboard is perhaps the best I have ever used and that includes iOS devices I’ve had in the past.
According to the Microsoft Research post, the Windows Phone Team sought to make the best software keyboard experience ever when creating their new OS and in doing so, collaborated with Microsoft Research to determine how users use their keypads and what they could do to make the experience better.
“We wanted to have the best text-input solution in the world. When it comes to digital communication, the task of getting an idea from your head to the keyboard is really important.”
A lot of research was done to determine different usage scenarios. How people pressed the screen and how they held their device were just a few of the conditions that were considered when creating the software keyboard in Windows Phone 7. Here are a few interesting pieces from their post:
“Paek and Gunawardana decided to use their expertise in machine learning and linguistics to develop an approach that mathematically takes into account both the geometry of the keyboard space and what people seem to want to say.”
“By combining statistical models of language patterns and touch points, the keyboard dynamically changes the virtual size of the likely next letter, so that it has a larger target area-the area where tapping the keypad results in a particular letter, symbol, or number.”
“The keypad software analyzes what a user is typing, decides which letter is most likely to be typed next, and enlarges the virtual key area, so that hitting a “T” results in a T, not a Y or an R.”
“In upcoming releases, the keypad even will take into account the speed at which a person is attempting to type.”
The entire article is very informative and just shows how much thought was put into the minor (yet significant) details that make Windows Phone the best smartphone platform today. You can read the entire post here.