#PMChallenge Adjustable keyboard margin

  1. MrTossum
    Cupcake Feb 20, 2019

    MrTossum , Feb 20, 2019 :
    Nowadays smartphone have full screen displays, with nearly no bezel around the screen. This is a great design accomplishment, and it just shows how far OnePlus manufacturing skills have come. However, having no bezels around the screen also poses some usability issues which are often overlooked.

    Have you ever had trouble reaching the keys on the keyboard when using your smartphone single handed? I personally can't remember the number of times I risked dropping my phone while I was typing with one hand. The main reasons are:
    1. Phones are getting tall(er) and holding them with one hand while typing can feel cumbersome or even painful to some people (due to the way they're forced to hold their phone).
    2. A full screen design implicitly means that the bottom border is narrower than the one on a traditional smartphone. In my experience, this means that using a virtual keyboard (which is usually placed on the bottom of the screen) one handed can be a tedious process, since the smartphone weight is no more evenly balanced and the keys are harder to reach.
    This feature is mainly intended for borderless smartphones like the OnePlus 5T and its successors.

    Who are the users?
    Using the virtual keyboard is a basic interaction that each user performs daily on their smartphone. I believe this particular feature would (potentially) benefit the most part of OxygenOS user base.

    What is the proposed function?
    Having the possibility to customize the keyboard margin would be a simple and effective solution.
    By adding a margin, the keyboard would be placed higher on the screen, therefore it would be easier to reach for the keys. Also, when typing one-handed, the phone would be more balanced and less prone to slipping off the user's hand.
    It is important to say that this feature should be universal, e.g. work with every keyboard available in order to guarantee the highest degree of customization to the end user.
    The option could be added to the Virtual keyboard section in OxygenOS Settings. The user could set the margin with a slider (A), a dropdown (B) (with presets like None, Low, Medium or High) or a more sofisticated UI (like the one in C), where the user would drag a placeholder (representing the active keyboard) to set the margin.

    Prototype mock up (Image available here)

    Final feature with Gboard (Image available here)

    What is the user value?
    The user would benefit from a more customizable typing experience. Integrating this feature in system options also means that it would potentially work with all keyboards.
    Also, by placing the keyboard on a higher position, the users (particularly those with smaller hands or those who mostly type one-handed) could use their smartphone in a more comfortable way.

    If there are existing comparable functions in the smartphone industry, how is your proposed feature superior?
    I am not aware of similar features installed on any other smartphone OS. Apple achieves (maybe indirectly) something similar with iOS on its iPhone X and XS because of the navigation bar position. Their solution is not customizable, though.

    buntycubal and mahyunk like this.
  2. mahyunk
    Froyo Feb 20, 2019

    mahyunk , Feb 20, 2019 :
    We've all been there :smile:
    This could prove useful. Great job

  3. LegolasX
    Jelly Bean Feb 20, 2019

    LegolasX , Feb 20, 2019 :
    Google keyboard already features floating keyboard and custom height adjustment, what's your take on this?
    i see no point in margin if we can move the keyboard wherever we want already.
    what do you say?

  4. MrTossum
    Cupcake Feb 20, 2019

    MrTossum , Feb 20, 2019 :
    It definitely happens a lot! Thank you!

    You are right. But Gboard's floating version is smaller than the regular, full-width version. With this feature enabled, the user could use the full width version without resorting to a floating keyboard.
    Regarding custom height adjustment, it has nothing to do with the feature proposed: a taller keyboard still has the lower rows near the bottom of the screen (indeed, I use the largest Gboard height but still feel that system-wide margin would be more beneficial). Just my 2 cents :smile: