Texting Vs Typing: why the smartphone keyboard needs an upgrade

July 20, 2021
We are yet to see anyone touch typing with ten digits on their phone. Why texting and typing are very different animals.

When people first see our patented hexagonal smartphone keyboard app, we tend to get one of two reactions:

1. That looks cool! I wanna try!
2. I’m used to QWERTY; why would I change?
Typewise smartphone keyboard app - for Android or iPhone

The first group are part of the 1.2 million people who have downloaded Typewise and since discovered that there is indeed a better keyboard layout for typing on smartphones. These people are enjoying faster typing, fewer typos, and 100% privacy. (Who woulda thunk that using a keyboard designed for grandma's mechanical typewriter 150 years ago - wouldn’t be optimal for today’s tiny smartphone screens?).

QWERTY worked well for grandma's typewriter. But for the smartphone - there's a better option.

The second group are perhaps confusing texting with typing somewhat. They sometimes cite alternative keyboard layouts such as DVORAK or COLEMAK, as examples of not-particularly-well-received attempts to improve upon the classic QWERTY layout. (Indeed, such layouts haven’t been adopted by the mainstream, but do have small, loyal followings).

But Typewise is not talking about the luxuriously spacious physical computer keyboard. We’re talking about the annoyingly tiny, digital smartphone keyboard.

The difference is important. Because even though we often use the word ‘typing’ when referring to texting, the act of texting on a smartphone is nothing like the act of typing on a physical computer keyboard.

We are yet to see anyone touch typing with ten digits on their phone. Because of the far smaller screen, we are forced to use one or two fingers (or thumbs).

Smartphone keyboard texting
Smartphone keyboards are annoyingly tiny compared to computer keyboards. So Typewise created a better keyboard for the limited size of the smartphone screen.

So, to say that we shouldn’t improve on the QWERTY keyboard layout for smartphone typing, just because people have used QWERTY on physical keyboards for a long time, is a bit like saying that cars should have handle bars and brake levers (instead of steering wheels and foot brakes), because people have used handle bars and brake levers on their bikes for a long time.

Which is of course nonsense. We build the optimal input method for each different device, vehicle or machine we use.

Because the act of texting is so different to typing, we cannot transfer the same muscle memory that we’ve built from years of using physical QWERTY keyboards on computers, to our smartphones. Therefore there is no inherent advantage of using the QWERTY layout on a smartphone.

The sole reason most smartphone keyboards are still using QWERTY, is purely down to legacy. If you were to design the optimal keyboard for the smartphone today (oh…hello Typewise!) it wouldn’t use QWERTY.

And it’s precisely because smartphone texting is so different to physical keyboard typing, that you can switch between Typewise on your phone, and QWERTY on your computer keyboard, seamlessly. Just as you can switch from riding your bike, to driving your car – seamlessly.

Once you think about how different texting on a phone is compared to typing on a full-size physical computer keyboard, it’s quite easy to see why so many people are ditching the legacy QWERTY and switching to Typewise for their smartphone keyboard.

It takes a little while to get used to our patented hexagonal layout; it’s different to QWERTY and just like anything else new, you need to get familiar with it (here are some Typewise texting tips). But once you do – most people find it’s just like riding a bike.

Try Typewise for free. Download it for Android or iPhone here or scan the QR code below.