Seeking Guidance on Developing a Custom Keyboard Layout for Indigenous Language

Hello everyone!! :blush:
I was recently working on a project to develop a custom keyboard layout for an indigenous language that lacks adequate digital representation. While I have made some progress, I am facing a few challenges and could really use some expert advice.
I have some specific areas where I need help:

  • I have gone through several keyboard layout creation tools, but I am unsure which one would be the best fit for my needs. Could anyone recommend a user-friendly tool that supports complex scripts and allows for custom key mapping?
  • What is the best way to package and distribute the keyboard layout so that it’s easy for users to install on various operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux)?
  • How can I ensure that the custom characters will be recognized across different platforms and devices? Are there any specific guidelines or resources I should follow?

Any advice, resources, or personal experiences you can share would be immensely helpful. I’m committed to making this keyboard layout as accurate and user-friendly as possible, and I appreciate any guidance you can provide.

Thank you in advance :pray:


You might want to repost this question in the keyman forum. Keyman works, as far as I know, on all platforms, and has great support and documentation. Since you are asking in the Dictionary App Builder (DAB) section I suppose you also want to create a dictionary app; you can easily embed a keyman keyboard into your DAB app. That way, users don’t need to install a separate keyboard on their phones, it will appear only if they open DAB. But obviously they can also install a keyman keyboard so they can use it in other apps on their phones as well.

Hello :blush:
I will definitely look into it further and explore how it can enhance user experience without requiring them to install additional keyboards. If anyone has specific tips or experiences with integrating Keyman into DAB, I’d love to hear more about it.

Thank you for the suggestion! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Oh, nothing could be simpler. Once you have created the keyboard in keyman, you can add it in DAB under Appearance > Fonts > Keyboards. Just note that if the keyboard you are creating is in a different script from the source language (e.g. English) you might run into problems. In theory, it is possible to add more than one keyman keyboard in DAB so that users can switch in the app. However, when I created my app a few years ago, this did not work and I haven’t heard of a fix since then. It will simply not allow you to switch to another installed keyboard and the embedded keyman keyboard makes it impossible to switch to system keyboard in app.
If, however, the scripts of source and target language are the same and you can type either language in them, you won’t have any issues and it works like a charm.