I posted this comment over at Macrumors under the iphone section discussing 4 newly released Landscape mode Apps for writing messages in mail.
Apparently it's easy to implement according to the developers which indicates Apple made a design decision not to implement it. Someone chimed in that it was actually harder to type fast in Landscape because of the added "thumb miles".
Am I nuts, to expect more flexibility in a virtual keyboard?
I hope I get some informative response.
question for developers
To pat (developer of Wide Email) and Jeffrey (developer of Sideways), or any developer that may know,
A question I have been wondering about for sometime. Would it be easy or hard to make a program like yours with an option in the settings for alternate non-Qwerty layouts ?
I don't touch type in Qwerty and it seems nuts to me that I have to revert to Qwerty on a virtual keyboard. Even a Mac comes with the option to use Dvorak. I don't touch type in Dvorak. I touch type in Colemak (http://colemak.com/).
Some people on here have talked about thumb miles, and that's really the silliness of inefficiency of the Qwerty design creeping in to affect other decisions like Apple not using the Landscape mode built in.
Dvorak might take more thought because of the more prominent placement of punctuation that appear on the numeric keyboard of the current setup, but Colemak is a slam dunk because the numeric keyboard doesn't change at all and the letter keyboard is just rearranged to a far more efficient layout but easily translatable for a former to Qwerty user to grok,
It should fit nicely with the widest row being the middle row. OR have the top two rows line up with the exact same number of 10 keys by having a special key on the right top that can be set to what the user wants. (for example, a caps lock key, or word delete key, or a select key, or favorite punction key, etc.)
70% of English words can be made with just the middle row. Colemak employs finger rolls, so for thumbs ST, AR, RA, NE, EI, IE, IO, etc.
Having a wider keyboard would lead to advantages in this regard.
Of course for those that like and use Dvorak, more hand alternation would translate to more thumb alternation, but the problem here is having wider 10 key bottom row. That would require putting the Upcase and Back Delete keys on the top row for the layout to fit. For some that might be fine.
Why not have these two alternatives ? The question is how hard or easy has Apple made it to do this ?
Afterall, this is one of the advantages of a virtual keyboard over a real keyboard. Honestly, it would be ideal if you could rearrange the keys in any order you prefer in the same method you rearrange Apps now. Why not!!!!