The concept for a one-dimensional keyboard called Minuum completely blew up the internet last week. It works based on the principle of disambiguation, which is something I explored quite a bit during the early stages of developing ASETNIOP. The video for it was very slick, but I thought it was kind of sketchy that the designers built up so much buzz (and collected a bunch of money) yet weren’t actually willing to let anyone try it out. So I made my own version.
- The word suggestions are based off a dictionary of 5,000 words, gathered from subtitles and graciously donated to the web by Hermit Dave. The words are ranked according to frequency of use. A smart dictionary – one whose suggestions are based on context and grammar – would provide better options, but would be orders of magnitude bigger, so the number of choices might be overwhelming.
- My program prioritizes complete words over partial suggestions, so if you’ve completed a word it will be immediately accessible.
- There are only six choices available (the autocomplete suggestion and the five boxes below) – there’s a small bit of text that shows how many additional options have been determined (but they’re not accessible).
- The space bar will complete the word as shown and add a space.
- There is no shift or backspace or any punctuation keys.
- The zoom keys don’t work on mobile devices (creating a “hover” activity takes a lot of finesse) but they do work with a mouse.
- The code is not particularly elegant – a lot of it was written using spreadsheet formulas and cut-paste-find&replace, but it should work.
- The mobile version doesn’t work on Opera. Otherwise I’ve tested it in other browsers on a desktop, iPhone, Droid, and iPad and it seems to work fine.
This isn’t a product release or anything (though, incidentally, I am looking to make contact with some Android developers, so if you’ve got skills please let me know), it’s just a mockup that lets you see how a system like this will look and feel in practice. Enjoy!