WritingPad – Review

On July 25, 2008

App Type: Uncategorized

WritingPad – Review

Our rating:

By: Norman Wang

Version #: 1.0.1

Date Released: 2008-07-19


Price: 0.00

User Rating:

Back in my Windows Mobile/Tablet PC days I tried a host of different input methods. There were various arrangements of letters, different takes on the T9 approach in which one key represents two or more letters and more. There were also approaches that attempted a variety of "finger/stylus slide" actions so that less "tapping" was required. All worked anywhere from "okay" to "well" but I always found myself returning to one of the standard input methods.

When 3rd party apps came to the iPhone and iPod Touch I wondered what alternative input methods might appear. Shapewriter Writing Pad is a first example and it already feels like a time-polished application. It works well and it is hard to beleive that this is a 1.0.1 version.
Writing Pad takes the standard iPhone/iPod Touch keyboard and turns it on its head. Instead of tapping away on the keyboard you slide your finger through the various letters in the word you are seeking to type. When your finger is lifted the "slid" word is input into your note. It may sound rather cumbersome but not only does it actually work but it actually works pretty well. I have rather larger fingers and yet as I slid from one letter to the next believing that there was no way the app could possibly return the correct word I was, more often than not, shocked to find that that is exactly what happened. It is pretty darn cool!

As an input method Writing Pad is not 100% accurate. then again, neither is my typing on the standard keyboard.  The developer found a nifty way to deal with the inaccuracies and it is one I wish the standard keyboard would implement. When a word is input into the note a selection of other possible words appears right below the text screen. A quick tap on one of the alternative words or spellings and that new combination is entered into the note. It makes quick work of finding and inputting the correct word and overcomes this limitation beautifully.

Writing Pad offers a number of excellent ways to configure and personalize the aproach so that it works best for you.

–It offers two keyboard layouts- QWERTY and ATOMIK. While I am not familiar with the latter I can see that, with practice, it might well work much better with this system.

–It instructs you to ignore double letters. In practice it sounds great. In reality… it works great too.

–It has 60,000 words in is lexicon. That is a lot but there will always be words that are not there. When that occurs the user can add words to the dictionary for future recognition.  

In all, this is an incredibly impressive application. At first this approach felt exceptionally cumbersome.  My learning curve with it was, initially, rather steep. Before too long it was working quite well for me.

Quick Take:

Value: High (free)
Would I Buy Again: I think it is a great app but I will not be using it
Learning Curve: Initially slow but user will improve rapidly with use. God instructions provided.
Who is it for: Anyone who hates the standard input method and seeks something else
What I like: Price, Accuracy, Well-conceived and well-executed, excels for inputting small words
What I Don’t: A hybrid approach would probably work best for me but it is hard to mix the slide input with tapping letters

Final Statement:

This is a pretty amazing application that has been well conceived and executed. The more I used it the better it worked for me and that was only with one day of testing. I imagine that a month from now I would be very proficient with with. 

All that said I won’t be using Writing Pad after today. It isn’t that the app doesn’t work. It does work well. For me, however, the native keyboard works very well these days and while typos are still an issue for me, my speed of writing on my iPhone and Touch is quite good. It is good enough, in fact, that I don’t want to move toward an alternative and start again. ive e the ability to use a bluetooth keyboard though and…

Read the Developer's Notes:
Store notes and send email using ShapeWriter on your iPhone. ShapeWriter is a revolutionary text input technology that enables you to enter text into the iPhone by tracing word shapes rather than typing letters. Each shape traced on the soft keyboard with your finger is recognized as a word. Error correction is fast and easy. For rare names and acronyms, type only once and you will be able to shape write the next time. Shape writing is many times more efficient than letter-based handwriting recognition. O U R   T A K E . . .

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