Apr 19 AT 12:10 PM Guest Blogger 5 Comments

ThickButtons: An alternative keyboard with predictive key sizing

ThickButtons Keyboard is designed to make it easier to type on a touchscreen by dynamically changing the size of keys based on what key you are likely to press next. Keys that the software thinks you are going to press next become larger, while unlikely keys are shrunk to a smaller size that depends on how many keys in the same row are expanded. The concept is great, but in reality this keyboard can make typing more difficult.

Typing on this keyboard will take a degree of getting used to as is the case with every keyboard. There are three enlargement options for the keys that the software thinks you will press next. When using the smallest size the keys stay closest to their original places. When using the medium or large setting, the keys move around a lot. This can be a problem when typing if the keyboard lags significantly. You may see a key, and start to move your finger over to it just as your other finger finishes pressing another key. Once your finger gets to the new key the software has made its prediction and changed the key sizes. The increase in key sizes causes some keys to get pushed left or right. After this happens your finger may hit the wrong key, because the key has moved completely to a new position.

ThickButtons requires access to your SMS, MMS, contact data, and user defined dictionary. The keyboard looks at this information in order to make more accurate guesses at what words you are probably going to type. Contacts and SMS dictionaries can be turned off in the settings menu. The keyboard settings also offer the standard options of vibrate on key press, sound on key press, auto-capitalization, quick fixes, word suggestions, and auto-complete.

Pros:

  • Reducing the size of unlikely keys reduces user error as long as the user is good at using the ThickButtons keyboard.
  • Developers are very responsive to community feedback.
  • Dedicated user community at http://community.thickbuttons.com/

Cons:

  • Large changes in key size cause keys to move around too much.
  • New keyboards take some getting used to.

What’s next:
Since release the developers have received a variety of feedback that has inspired them to develop a feature that will allow fast Android typists to easily type on ThickButtons.

Final Verdict

The typing on this keyboard is responsive. This keyboard will take some getting used to, but it is definitely worth checking out. If you can get used to it then you may drastically reduce your errors when typing.

Developer: BrightSide Software
Version: 0.6.3
Reviewed on: Motorola Droid v2.0.1 and 2.1-update1

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Note: This review was submitted by Kevin Shreffler as part of our app review contest.

From time to time we invite guest bloggers to contribute articles about various Android topics. This is one of those times...

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