With desktop and laptop computers, keyboards don’t seem to be that important. Usually they get the job done, and they’re either built into the system or added on after without so much as a second thought.
But with mobile devices, it’s different. The ones that are “built in” are less than ideal sometimes, and it leaves users looking for alternate choices like keyboard apps that allow you to “slide” instead of tapping characters and hardware keyboards that can extend a tablet to simulating a laptop. We asked a few of our writers, “How important are keyboards to your mobile experience?”
Trevor feels they’re pretty important and that the “quality” of the keyboard is important as well. “If the predictions are bad or the buttons too big or too small, the inconvenience takes away from wanting to use the device.”
Christopher feels that apps like SwiftKey and TouchPal “mitigate some of my problems with touchscreen keyboards.” Overall, though, he still misses the slide-out keypads early smartphones had. “Tactile feedback makes a huge difference in typing comfort and speed, and you just can’t get that with a uniform, flat screen.”
Corbin thinks “display size is paramount above all in regards to typing,” moreso than a keyboard. He notes it doesn’t matter how well-designed the keyboard is, “if the display is too small, you won’t be able to get anything done.”
Keyboards are only important for my iPad, not my iPhone. I’m fine with the built-in iOS keyboard on my iPhone. But I just cannot do the “on-board” keyboard on my iPad – not even to type one word. I only use it with an attached keyboard. And even then, it has to emulate a “real” keyboard. Too many times to fit all the keys in a small space, they eliminate certain keys like one of the Shift keys, the Caps Lock, or they move the arrow keys to a weird spot. For my iPad, it’s really important.
What about you? Do you have favorite mobile keyboards that you use? Do you wish you could have the old slide-out keyboards back? Or do you feel the display is more paramount? How important are keyboards to your mobile experience? Join the conversation and let us know below in the comments section.