Had a thought… it occurred to me while looking at a mobile keyboard where the language name was on the spacebar, that users may have developed a mental association between the two (I have). Given this association, wouldn’t it be natural to use the spacebar to change language?
Perhaps by a longpress of the spacebar, a downward flick (when available), or maybe with a 2 finger press? I wouldn’t mind if the icon was even on the spacebar (maybe as a hint). Would this approach be acceptable to allowing keyboards to forego the extra key?
Ah, in line with this issue? feat(ios,android): Use Swipe Pattern to Shift Keyboards · Issue #9426 · keymanapp/keyman · GitHub
Our current “running thought” for this - a 2-finger flick-left for “previous keyboard” and 2-finger flick-right for “next keyboard”.
Sadly, there’s a strong chance this won’t be landing as part of 17.0. The rest of the gesture stuff took quite a while to get right as it was, and there’s other work to be done for 17.0 as well. We currently have it marked on the roadmap for 18.0.
Oh… ha, I had even forgotten that shift-keyboard-by-swipe approach. So this new thought would be in addition to the previous
Would this approach be acceptable to allowing keyboards to forego the extra key?
Apple is pretty adamant that there should always be a quick, clear way to swap keyboards:
When designing your keyboard’s user interface, incorporate a button to switch keyboards. The system keyboard uses a button with a globe icon as shown in the following image.
needsInputModeSwitchKey property on
UIInputViewController to determine if you should display a button to switch keyboards.
For devices such as the iPhone SE (any gen),
needsInputModeSwitchKey == true - that bottom area with just the globe key and dictation button doesn’t exist. Perhaps we could eliminate the key sometimes, but this guideline means that we can’t eliminate it outright. Also, for users with large amounts of keyboards… it’s very handy to have a menu.
It could be a user option … but more options is more support headache
This is a nice example @joshua_horton , I prefer this approach where the mechanism to change the keyboard is not a part of the keyboard itself (that is, separate from the palette of input keys).
If the extra row with the diction icon will be there anyway, then it’s a good place for the globe-key. Similarly, my Samsung-Android phone has a keyboard icon in the lower-right corner. But if they can not be leveraged for some reason, then I’m back to liking my previous suggestions that avoid adding to the pallete
This actually becomes quite complicated, very quickly, because it impacts the touch layout design in potentially unanticipated ways. Some keyboard designers have placed the globe key in areas not next to the spacebar, which means that the spacebar can’t just grow if we remove it from there. We always have to anticipate that we’ll need a globe key for usability and to meet Apple requirements anyway.
The LDML keyboard spec has a dynamically sized area for the globe key which should always be placed next to another key which is ‘growable’ – so spacebar is recommended. This means that systems can place a globe key, a dictation key, emoji key etc there – or nothing at all if they place those widgets elsewhere. So I’d be looking at that for the future, and we’ll come back to hiding the globe key as an option one day.