With the release of Windows 8, Microsoft has taken the Windows experience to a different level. Apart from several new features, several already adopted features are revamped. Being a touch screen operating system, it must exhibit an optimized interface for text input i.e. ‘on-screen touch keyboard’ for tablet devices, as it is not possible to fulfill the user’s expectations and needs without a great touch keyboard. A set of optimized features of this ‘on-screen touch keyboard’ in Windows 8 include:
Optimized for Comfort
While thinking about enhancing the current typing experience of the users on an ‘on-screen touch keyboard’, Microsoft designed a number of keyboard patters, as users have different style of interacting with a touch screen interface. Some hold it in one hand and operate it with another. A few are seen typing with both hands resting the device on a table or lap while many hold it in both hands and interacting with their thumbs.
Generally, an on-screen touch facilitates the user to rest it on a table or on their lap and type with both hands. Microsoft, on its very first preview of Windows 8 revealed its ‘thumb keyboard’ for those who hold the tablet in both hands and type with their thumbs. It can be adjusted according to the hand size of the user.
Interacting with the Glass
Unlike other on-screen touch keyboards, the dimension and structure of a physical keyboard was kept in the mind while designing it. A physical keyboard usually has small bumps on its J and F keys in order to position your hands on it. Thinking from a user perspective demands that there should be some indication when you type on this keyboard. The same was employed in this keyboard, as its sensitive touch produces a tapping sound to confirm the key striking, which was argued as irritating. In addition, the color of the touched key changes, as it does on a typical touch keypad in phones.
People even found this color changing mechanism not ideal while entering a password; therefore, it can be turned off manually.
Ideal for Typing
The size of the keyboard enhances the typing speed and accuracy of the users; however, it is one of the factors in demand. A physical keyboard is used on computer so that the users can type even faster than they could not on a touch interface. Therefore, in order to include all of the keys that are in a physical keyboard, the size factor came across, as not even a single key can be removed. Microsoft’s principle behind developing this keyboard was that, “They must be great for typing”, as it is the primary purpose.
There were several prototypes made for this keyboard according to the views of different users. People recommended that there should be a row of the number keys at the top of the keyboard. Microsoft designed a keyboard prototype accordingly, but it acquired more than half screen of the tablet while typing. A further observation was that letters are typed more frequently as compared to the number and symbol, and then these were settled on a different view. Moreover, these number keys are arranged in an order as 1, 2, and 3 on the top instead of 7, 8, and 9.
Tab key is one of the most used keys on a keyboard as it is used in formatting of the documents and even when going through the input fields on a website. In the latter design, several keys were removed and the borders surrounded the rest. This irritated the users, as they often touched the border instead of the keys. Therefore, it had to be removed to improve the typing speed of the users and hence, to get quality response.