Thursday, 19 June 2014

Week 4 of GSoC : Community interactions for the Keyboard

The project is progressing at a good pace and the Indic Firefox OS L10n Sprint has helped me understand the needs and requirements of 13 Indian locales which participated in the sprint.

There was almost a unanimous feedback that the Inscript layouts don't make any sense in the mobile space since it takes too many keys and ends up increasing the "Fat Finger Error" to a new level , even if you have tiny fingers. 

I showed the highly modified Inscript-like layout for Hindi (shown below), which the the Telugu team liked a lot. Mr Veeven from the Telugu L10n team was rooting for such a keyboard for Telugu. I did try experimenting with such layouts, but the 'extra' vowels in South Indian languages are posing a problem.


Hindi
Gujarati

Most of the language communities were in favour of phonetic keyboards, like the Odia Lekhani input, the Malayalam Lalitha layout and the KaGaPa phonetic layouts for Kannada, Telugu etc. The phonetic based layouts implemented in the Indic Keyboard Android app by Jishnu has been a good reference for the layouts.

Kannada
Telugu



In the coming weeks, I'm planning to finish up with these layout based keyboards and give them to the respective language community for review and feedback. In the meanwhile I'll be implementing transliteration based input, which is more widely used by the younger generation to type quickly in their native language using the familiar English keyboard.

This weekend I'll have another great opportunity for receiving first hand suggestions and feedback from the Mozilla India community at the MozCamp Beta India, which is being held in Bangalore.

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