Typing on the smartphone in Indian languages will never be the same. SwiftKey has just updated its Android keyboard option bringing in adaptive layouts for Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, Marathi and Nepali. The new keyboard updates will also bring in better autocorrect and prediction features.
“Our effort is to make the interaction between people and technology better. In India, we want to offer the best typing experience for the users who are being ushered into the smartphone era,” explains CTO Ben Medlock.
For most Indians the experience with language keyboards has been very frustrating over the years and that is what Swiftkey, which has been hailed as London’s hottest start up, wants to fix. In fact, they have already fixed this for the Chinese audience and a lot of those learnings are being implemented in the Indian language keyboard with some help from experts at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
“When we started this company we really wanted to look at how multi-lingual users look at typing on the smartphone and we felt that the current products were not serving them effefctively. We have worked very hard to offer the best experience to these users,” adds Medlock.
The new upgrade will come with updates to the top row of vowels so that they become contextually relevant, intuitive layouts for Hindi, Tamil, Gujarati, Nepali and Marathi keyboards and availability of both roman and local script on the number pad.
Product Manager Aarti Samani says all languages that use Devanagari, Tamil and Gujarati scripts will benefit from the new layouts.
“Those languages come with all the Swiftkey intellect, complete contextual prediction and auto correction. Even smaller languages like Dogri and Bodo come with contextual prediction,” she says, highlighting how JNU helped with the data on these languages.
Samani says they will change the way people interact with the keyboard. “Technology should adapt to users and not the other way round. Our user research showed that the biggest issue with adoption of local languages was the frustration with the keyboard,” he adds.
“We have used algorithms and artificial intelligence to find the commonly used ccharacters and make them easily availble on the keybaord,” she says. In fact, Swiftkey has removed some of the characters that are not used commonly from the top layer of the keyboard.
Other new features in the update include, the SwiftKey Hub for content use most often, a ‘Carbon’ theme and a collaboration with Dashlane that will help securely predict exactly when you need your passwords.
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