Version 3.0 of the Flicktype keyboard introduces many new features for blind and visually impaired typists. One of the most impactful of these is the new half-screen and minimalist mode, which were previously only accessible for low vision users.
As expected, this change effects how much of the screen is consumed by the keyboard. In half screen mode, the keyboard covers half the screen, while minimal layout is much closer to the size of the standard iOS qwerty keyboard. Both allow you to interact with other elements on the screen, such as the message history or send button in the messages app, without the need to first hide the keyboard.
A long press now resizes the qwerty row to the height of the previous two rows, and exploring the area above the keyboard will allow you to read back and explore your previously entered text.
Of particular interest to low vision users, the default black background can now be changed to a vertical gradient with a color chosen by the user.
Particularly fast typers can now turn off the two-finger gesture for invoking shift. This sometimes lead to unintended capitilisation of words or letters in words. It is worth noting that letters can still be manually capitalized with a long press to the letter, and that two finger gestures for moving by word through your text still work as expected.
known issues and workarounds
If you are receiving extraneous or incorrect announcements from the app while typing, Flicktype recommends you set VoiceOver speech feedback to characters or nothing, in the VoiceOver settings of your device. (Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver, Typing Feedback.)
With the iPhone X, the minimalist layout does not work correctly when using the container app. (This does not seem to apply to the third party keyboard.)
Manually typing a word after a new line (when the first word on the line is entered manually), intermittently inserts a space before the first character of the manually entered word.
For some users, Flicktype on the iPad may not work if Zoom is also enabled.
Flicktype is actively soliciting feedback on this new version. Reach out to them on twitter @flicktype and of course, comment here with your experiences of the new version.Flicktype Keyboard on the Appstore
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Tangela Mahaffey is a barely reformed English Major currently residing in Colorado. She reads entirely too many fantasy books and takes almost nothing seriously, including herself. She loves technology, music, writing, puns, and cats. She can be reached on twitter @tmmahaff