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Microsoft explains how it designed the Windows 8 touch keyboard

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Microsoft explains how it designed the Windows 8 touch keyboard
When it comes to tablets, we hear one complaint over and over again - they are better tailored for media consumption, but not for creating content. The hardware is there for most, so what’s missing? Try typing a long email and you’d instantly understand that the touch keyboard is one key factor deterring the tablet from becoming a better content creation machine.

Microsoft heard all those complaints in Windows 8 and took the time to research and meticulously design the touch keyboard in its newest platform. Key size and ergonomics, adaptive layouts and predictive typing were all in Microsoft’s research and now it has revealed just how it arrived at its current keyboard.

You’d notice the interesting pictures showing just where our thumbs feel most comfortable when holding a tablet in landscape mode, and also how our eyes move from the keyboard at first to what we type as we get used to the keyboard. This helped Microsoft keep the keys at a reasonable size, leaving enough space for you to see your actual typing output.

Also, the company tried to implement haptic feedback but found it distracted way too many users (count us in there), and finally went without it. What’s interesting is that the keys at the center that are further away from your thumbs actually are aware of the angle you’ll hit them with your finger, so that makes for even better usability. Check out the whole fascinating piece on the keyboard design at Microsoft’s Building Windows 8 blog below.

source: Building Windows 8

Green is where our fingers move easiest
Our eyes move away from the keyboard as we type more

Green is where our fingers move easiest

Our eyes move away from the keyboard as we type more


14 Comments
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posted on 18 Jul 2012, 06:13 4

5. greatGreekGeek (unregistered)


its good to see ms working so hard on wp8. these companies compete and we are the ones getting all the benefits.

posted on 18 Jul 2012, 08:43 3

9. remixfa (Posts: 13925; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


exactly. you dont sue the competition into non-existence to make a better product, you out compete them. Consumers win that way as it keeps pushing the envelope on quality and features. Suing the competition out of existence has the exact opposite long term effect.

posted on 18 Jul 2012, 07:25

6. bloodline (Posts: 691; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


Good keyboard on a terrible OS, whats the point.

posted on 18 Jul 2012, 07:31 5

7. bbblader (Posts: 580; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


well the first version of android was terrible compared to jelly bean
and the frist version of ios was terrible compared to ios6 not that much has changed in ios exept siri
but wp will become good someday look at how much it changed from mango to wp8

posted on 18 Jul 2012, 14:11

14. Penny (Posts: 1183; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)


Yes, Windows. What a terrible OS.

*rolls eyes*

posted on 18 Jul 2012, 08:01 2

8. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


This is why i should buy windows (Phone) 8

posted on 18 Jul 2012, 08:55 1

10. nnaatthhaannx2 (Posts: 820; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


lol exactly.

posted on 18 Jul 2012, 09:01

11. quryous (banned) (Posts: 106; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


No Numeric Keypad, no SALE.

More than ANYTHING else that I can think of, not having a Numeric Keypad inhibits real WORK on any tablet.

I'll just stick with a standard, inexpensive keyboard that has a useful Numberic Keypad.

posted on 18 Jul 2012, 11:52 1

13. bayusuputra (Posts: 941; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)


why are you spamming all the WP article with your numeric keypad comment? do you realise that this is an article about ON-SCREEN TOUCH KEYBOARD???!!!

are you not aware that you can buy a separate NumKeypad for windows?
And tablet is so versatile you can change the layout of the keyboard from alphabets to numbers..

Oh, wait, your work calculator don't have touch screen..

really, sometimes I don't know how you idiots use your phones if you can't even read the articles properly.. At least get the headings right..

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