Finger Graffiti

Giles Jones giles.jones at
Mon Jul 30 02:08:26 CEST 2007

On 30 Jul 2007, at 00:49, Nkoli wrote:

> So, there I was pretending my phone has a touchscreen while I wait  
> for GTA02 when this idea popped into my head for a keyboard  
> alternative. I would very much like to hear thoughts. The design  
> would remove the onscreen keyboard completely and replace it with a  
> Graffiti-like interface that can recognize something as wide as a  
> finger or as tiny as a stylus. A couple of icons for a symbols list  
> and other essentials that the user may not want to write out (ex  
> www., .com or greek letters) will be all that's left of the  
> keyboard. For the sake of minimalism, the entire screen, excluding  
> the very top or bottom where the icons are, will be used as the  
> input area. The app should be activated or deactivated with one  
> touch just like the current keyboard. It would have to have some  
> excellent text recognition as well as a built in dictionary to  
> suggest words, which should make up for any holes in the text  
> recognition. Also, a find as you write feature will be handy for  
> finding folders in the main menu, names in the contact list or  
> numbers in the logs, basically reducing scrolling through areas  
> that aren't primarily text based. The benefits of this finger  
> graffiti are that it has a learning curve of zero, eliminates  
> hunting and pecking so anyone can write quickly without needing to  
> get used to the onscreen keyboard. Oh yeah, it's as fast as you can  
> move your fingers and it can easily be done one handed. I have  
> little experience with programming and I hardly do more than write  
> little time saving scripts nowadays, so I honestly have no concept  
> of what such an app would take. What d'you guys think?

I don't think your finger will slide around the screen easily enough  
to make it work. Even if it does it will leave lots of smears on the  
screen. Also I don't see that typing is any slower than graffiti if  
the keyboard is well designed. I just hate using handwriting  
recognition, I've used it on Palm, Windows Mobile and use it now on  
my Nintendo DS.

If you're like me and don't write on paper all that much you get  
irritated with having to write very perfectly on such devices, I'd  
also say typing uses less effort and you won't get finger/joint ache  
if you use it a lot.

I think the major problem with small screen size and text entry is  
seeing the screen with your finger in the way.

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