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Virtual keyboard

A tool for alphanumeric free-text input is required.

Context

Operators need to enter alphanumeric free-text, e.g., when composing a message.

Forces

On screens not supporting multi-touch the CAPS key cannot be used. Instead, a CAPS LOCK functionality must be used to enter capital letters.

Solution

The solution provides an almost fully featured keyboard with multi-language support.

Example

The keyboard is designed to support multiple languages. The tables below show the keyboard layouts for a Swiss multi-language keyboard supporting German, French, and Italian.


Swiss French, lowercase


Swiss French, uppercase


Italian, lowercase


Italian, uppercase

To extend the keyboard layout to further languages, the following template can be used:

Safety impact

Free-text input should be used with care because on-screen keyboards are not as efficient as hardware keyboard because they lack tactile feedback and response time.

Usability impact

Using this pattern enables users to input short sequences of free text. To lessen the cognitive load of typing and to reduce the error rate, typing tools should be provided, e.g., dictionary-based text input support.

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