With Apple opening up the ability to import keyboards from third party developers, there is now a means for innovation around text composition methods for Apple mobile devices to flourish. This is great news for users. They gain the benefit of selecting a suitable keyboard from a very deep pool of diverse choices. It certainly reinforces my mantra that diversity is strength. This is evidenced by the release of keyboards by two companies with a long history of research and innovation in keyboard accessibility methods and word prediction. Assistiveware has recently released its suite of custom keyboards that will soon also offer a range of settings to support users with more complex fine motor challenges.
This post, however, will be focussing on the soon to be released third party keyboard called Superkeys.
Superkeys was officially launched overnight at the Closing the Gap Conference in Minneapolis.
It is Crick Software’s latest innovation.
With a knowledge base of over 20 years of assistive software expertise, their extensive research has led to the creation of a unique keyboard that provides users with moderate physical challenges and low vision with large , clear targets.
The unique design of Superkeys gives keyboard users just 7 large keys to target instead of 32 small ones. Just tap the cluster containing the letter you want, and then tap the letter in the enlarged cluster. Coupled with Crick’s powerful word prediction engine, users will rarely have to type a complete word. Prediction suggestions are also displayed on large buttons for easier selection. Some keyboard shortcuts also offer the ability to enter customisable phrases with a single tap!
Superkeys has already found its way in the most recent update of Clicker Docs and Clicker Connect as an additional accessibility feature. This is fantastic news for users with keyboarding difficulties needing to access these powerful literacy apps.
Superkeys will be available as a universal system-wide keyboard for iPad and iPhone in late October.
Want to know more about Superkeys and other cool accessibility features possible with iOS8?
Why not come along to the November workshop?
It would be terrific to see you there!