Tablets are not just for consuming content, but navigating the cursor in text to make changes, correct mistakes and so on is still kind of painful. Daniel Hooper was frustrated by how tedious text editing is on an iPad and decided to do something about it. As he remarks “Apple says the iPad is the future of the Post-PC world; if it’s going to be my primary keyboard, I want a better way to edit text!”. He came up with a clever solution involving gestures on the keyboard, as the video below illustrates.
Although I see some small issues with this, this can be implemented with virtually no side effects or changes to the existing method for direct text selection. I can easily see myself tapping the text to position the cursor sort of where I want it and then adjusting it by performing gestures on the keyboard.
There are some things that I think can and should be improved about this concept. First of all, I don’t think dragging one finger on the keyboard should have any effect. The iPad’s current keyboard is very forgiving when I mis-press a key initially and move my finger to the right key. This should not cause the cursor to move. An easy adaptation of this solution would be to just use the two finger gesture for moving the text (if you want to move it faster, just use the “tap and refine” strategy I mentioned earlier).
Additionally, I wonder how text selection would work when typing with one hand. I rarely use an iPad the way it is shown here, laying on a table in landscape mode. Perhaps in addition to using shift, holding the two finger gesture could also initiate “select mode”. That way, selection can more easily be done using one hand.
Typing on tablets still has a long way to go, but this is a good step forward to a more touch friendly future. Apple, Google and other tablet makers, pay attention!