Even though touch screen phones are more popular than ever, many people who enter a lot of text on their phone still prefer a physical keyboard (Ed. That’s me alright.) The need for tactile feedback is often cited as the reason. However, it’s likely that tactile feedback is preferred so that users know that they’re going to hit the correct letter, before they actually press it.
Which is why haptic feedback on touch screens doesn’t actually help typing speed as it comes far too late – it vibrates after you’ve hit the wrong key.
US start-up, ThickButtons, think they have the answer.
They’ve developed a replacement keyboard for Android phones (and soon Windows Phone 7 Series). As soon as a user starts typing a new word, ThickButtons enlarges all of the letters that it thinks that the user could be about to press next, and correspondingly reduces the size of other letters. Thus, making those touch screen characters much larger targets to hit, and hopefully making typing easier.
ThickButtons is available in the Android market place for free, and the company will be officially launching at the DEMO Spring 2010 event.