Announcing FlickType Keyboard & looking for beta testers
Announcing FlickType Keyboard & looking for beta testers
Since there was enough interest from the community on a possible revival of the original Fleksy app, I took the code that was open-sourced by the company a while ago and brought it up to speed, with a goal of releasing it to the App Store as soon as possible for free. Please note that this is a personal effort of my wife & me, and while I am the creator of the original Fleksy app, FlickType is not affiliated with Fleksy.
What is FlickType
FlickType is the fastest keyboard app in the world for blind and low-vision iOS users, based on the familiar QWERTY layout. It is a full-screen keyboard without a spacebar, and utilizes a couple of simple gestures for the most common typing tasks such as entering a space, deleting words and cycling through the automatically provided suggestions. Instead of having traditional virtual keys, FlickType looks at the points where you touch the screen. Just tap once for each letter of a word, roughly where you think that key would be on the regular keyboard, and flick right to end the word - FlickType does the rest!
A new beginning
FlickType picks up from where Fleksy left off, and if it proves to be popular enough in today's text input landscape, I have a lot of fresh ideas to make it even better than it ever was. The app is currently in beta, and everyone is welcome to try it out and tell us what you think. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll send you a TestFlight invite right away.
Looking forward to your feedback via email or by replying to this thread!
Kosta & Ashley
This is exciting news!! I have emailed the address that you gave, asking for an invite!!
Warmly and excitedly,
Now let me say first, I literally installed this beta like ten minutes ago and and have only played with Flick Type for a scant couple of minutes. However, what can I say but, wow! I didn't realize how much I missed this app until right now. I am sure I'll be running into some bugs, but in terms of the concept and implementation of this alternate keyboard, it's simply amazing. Improvements can certainly be made, but I can say without hesitation, this is how I prefer to type on my iPhone.
Echoing the last poster's comment. While I can certainly use Fleksy to a degree, when I installed this beta, it it felt like I have forgotten how fast typing originally was. May it long continue!
I like this app! I find it's easier for me to use than the Flexy app! Definitely a keeper in my book! Keep up the great work!
So far, I am loving it. One question, do you intend to allow this keyboard to be used in place of the iOS keyboard?
We've been overwhelmed by all the beta requests & feedback we received in just the last few hours, but please keep it coming! I wanted to take a moment and address some of the most common questions we are getting:
Keyboard extension in all apps
FlickType does not yet have a keyboard extension, but this is coming soon. A couple of years ago, Fleksy only open-sourced the code for the original app, what was eventually known as "Fleksy VO". That version did not have a keyboard extension that could be used in all apps, and as such I will need to build that from scratch now. The good news is that this is the single most important item on our immediate roadmap, and while it's too early to provide any sort of estimate on a release date, being an always-full-screen keyboard with no unnecessary features beyond what's needed for efficient typing should provide me with the necessary focus to build this out relatively quickly. The only work that will have to come before that is fixing any bugs of the stand-alone app as they come, to ensure it is in a good place and functioning well for most people while I work on the extension.
FlickType currently only supports US English, with Spanish coming out in the next few days. Those were the 2 languages included in the open-sourced Fleksy, and are therefore the easiest to add back. Additional languages will come after the keyboard extension is ready and working well for most. Also please note that language development is a slow process. I don't mean to disappoint anyone waiting for their language to be supported soon, but I want to make sure we set the right expectations from the start.
FlickType has been designed from the ground up to work best on the phone form factor, but it can work very well on an iPad once you get the hang of it. Please share your experiences if you happen to have one.
Posting to Twitter & Facebook
This will be an option in the next TestFlight build coming out tomorrow.
More to come soon.
Warmly, Kosta & Ashley
Multiple people here have said that it is a "huge" difference between this keyboard and the Fleksy one. I honestly can't think of anything that could be so different about the approach. However I am very interested if someone can tell me what the differences in their point of view is.
On another topic: I was wondering if we could help bringing other languages to this app sooner than later. Thanks for the work and the participation in general.
Regarding the previous post, perhaps what people are referring to when they say there are huge differences between Flick Type and Flecksy is when comparisons are made with the current version of Flecksy which is pretty much unusable. The current version of Flecksy is not targeted toward blind/visually impaired users. The user experience is very different. On the other hand, if the comparison is made between Flick Type and the original release of Flecksy, Flick Type is very much a revival of that concept. The two apps are pretty much indistinguishable, which makes sense since aspects of the original Flecksy app are being used in Flick Type.
This is brilliant! I've already sent an email to request to join the beta. If works well for me, I'll probably go between that and braille screen input, depending on what I feel like using!it
So I was extremely critical towards a relaunch of the original Fleksy which I never tried. When I was learning about Fleksy it already was this graphical driven thing. But I have since the relaunch of Fleksy a couple of months ago loved it and I honestly thought there is not much that could be better.
So there I am after the beta invite and was replying to an e-mail and was awstruck how much more responsive typing was. It still isn't perfect but I understand why FleksyVO was so popular.
Building on that foundation and adding things like multi language support and making it a keyboard which is usable in every App I'd instantly buy it or donate some money. However I am wondering why Apple never thought about buying Fleksy or FlipType to add that into iOS by default.
On another note: If the patents are used and Apple gets rid of the Keyboards in their MacBooks, FlipType would have a purpose there as well... Just thinking out loud.
I am really wanting to be a beta tester.
IF you want to be a beta tester then find the e-mail address from a comment above and send them an e-mail.
I was one of the people who used Flexi VO and was very Disappointed when it was discontinued. I am still pretty slow at typing on my iPhone, in fact I find it quite embarrassing so would really welcome this app.
Hell I'd even be willing to pay for it on the app store. or put in a donation as someone else has said.
I was a bit skeptical of this app. Normally I am a braille screen input user. However after testing this app a bit I must say I am surprised at how well and fast I can type with it. It shocks me a bit everytime it gets the word right I was trying to spell. LOL. I do have a problem with trying to put in the word it. For some reason it keeps thinking I am trying to type either or or of. Keep up the good work on this app. It really is a good one.
Just letting you know that this works just fine on an iPad. Admittedly, I'm used to using direct touch typing, but I don't think anyone will have any trouble.
The app does what it's meant to. Although as far as I know there's no way to delete characters yet, but it's not for me.
I prefer typing on the IOS keyboard.
I am having a strange issue with the keyboard. I will type a message into flicktype and use the copy and clear command so I can paste it into another app. Next I will move to the app I want to paste the message in using the app switcher. Once I am in the app I will paste my message into the edit field. Now if I go back to flicktype using the app switcher, the app no longer seems to function. I appear to be stuck in the status bar. I am using a iPhone 7plus running the latest version of iOS. Is anyone else seeing this odd behavior?
Hi Greg. Good spot, I'm seeing this bug too.
Until it's fixed, a workaround is to open the menu again before exiting the FlickType app, the bug does not occur then. As an iPhone X user I generally do this anyway as the keyboard interferes with the gestures for home and app switcher.
Please let me know if this new build addresses any of the issues you've experienced. I have also added Spanish back, although I cannot assess the quality of the dictionary since I don't know any Spanish.
You might need to restart TestFlight for the new build to show up.
Anyone who still hasn't been invited to the beta, send us an email at email@example.com and we'll add you right away.
Thank you all for testing!
Great, the app switching bug looks to be fixed anyway.
It is still inserting spaces at the end of lines, which I assume you are aware of.
Although I have become very confident with the standard ios keyboard since fleksy became inaccessible, I have to say that I love this app. Typing made easy again.
Even with the latest build I am still encountering this bug. When I switch to another app and go back to Flictype, I am unable to use the app until I close it using the app switcher. I am using the latest build. I have also noticed that when I am in Flicktype I am unable to use the four finger swipe to move to another app.
Its fantastic to be able to type quickly again. I became proficient with the standard keyboard but it's just so much faster and a more pleasant experience with this app. Although still in Beta form, its already in my dock. I'd like to see favourites for contacts added again for sending imessages. And before the build for integration, I think it would be great if the 4 finger swipe left /right gesture to go between apps was implemented. Superb job already though so thank you and keep up the good work costa and Ashley!
I was one of the people who said I wouldn't use this app as am happy with braille screen input, but the positivity on here persuades me it's worth a look. Before I look, though, I was just wondering what was happening about UK english? Costa has said US English is supported, but I wouldn't want to end up writing in US English.
Another update is out with a number of fixes. Please bear with us while we are working hard to address all major reported bugs.
Here's the recent changes & notes:
- Don't clear text if the export is cancelled (thanks Brandon, that was a bummer!)
- Don't show "Copy & Clear" menu option when "Auto Copy & Clear" is on, since text is then copied automatically when backgrounding the app
- Added notification whenever the keyboard is "Ready to type", including the current text as well as the hint for the menu gesture
- Always return to letters layout when resuming typing
- Removed functionality that persisted typed text between app launches
- Turns out that Facebook no longer allows us to pre-fill their post dialog, unless we include their SDK in our app. We do not want to bloat our app. Until we figure out a better solution, we now always copy the text when using the "Export" option, so that if you choose facebook in the next step, you can then paste your text in that dialog.
- Added "Export text" option that includes iMessage, email, Twitter, Facebook and more, using the standard iOS share sheet.
- Added "Tell-a-friend" option
- Added Spanish as a language in the settings. Requires app restart after changing.
- Fixed menu not working on iPad
- Fixed menu sometimes not working at all
- Fixed text being spoken twice when invoking the menu on iPad
- Fixed an ios 10 crash
- Removed email signature setting
- Removed "Paste" menu option when setting "Auto copy & clear" was on
- Auto copy&clear setting won't copy & clear the text if app is momentarily backgrounded due to a notification or control center
As a reminder, everyone's welcome to join our beta, just send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll add you right away.
Thank you all for testing!
Thank you for mentioning this issue, we actually were unaware of the issue as you're the first to report it. We've now added it to our bug list, and will look into it. Are you seeing this behavior across the board or only in specific instances? Any details you can provide would be helpful.
Thanks, again, for the feedback!
As stated above in more detail, we currently only support US English and Spanish, though we will be adding more languages in the future. Our largest initiative currently is to build the system-wide keyboard extension, this is quite a large undertaking and will be a meaningful improvement to the experience. Once this is built we will start to add other languages, and UK English is certainly on our list. We understand it doesn't have your language of choice at the moment, but we encourage you to give the beta a try in it's current state and provide your recommendations as to what you'd like to see in the app when UK English becomes available.
All the best,
I am a beta tester. I love the app. I just wonder if there could be a way to delete sentences or just everything. It is easy to use. I like that you can choose numbers and symbols and letters. Everything is here.
Hi. No problem.
It seems to happen every time I use the two finger swipe down gesture to go to a new line.
Any chance we could get some kind of emoji picker within FlickType?
I am still encountering the app switching issue on my iPhone 7 plus. However I decided to install the keyboard on my iPad mini2 and I don't have the issue. I think I may uninstall Flicktype from my phone and reinstall it to see if this solves the issue. If it does not anyone have suggestions on what else to try? I am also sending feedback from within test flight to the devs.
I can say having tested it that it does work very well. I never used the original app, just this one, but I like it a lot so far.
No, I cannot confirm this behavior, it is working perfectly even between apps. I have the same iPhone, running iOS 11.2.6, and I have used both build 16 and 18.
Well I tried uninstalling the app and reinstalling it and that seemed to help. However after switching apps a couple of times it started not working again. I decided to do a soft reset of my phone holding down the power button and volume down buttons. This has seemed to correct the issue. I have been able to switch between apps and it seems to be working. I am keeping my fingers crossed it continues to work.
The app switching bug is back for me. It worked for a couple of times after I did a soft reset of my phone and then the bug came back. I did notice that when it happens I will be unable to use the four finger flick gesture to move to another app from within flicktype. Other than this I really like this app. Also it seems to work just fine on my iPad mini 2. My phone is an iPhone 7 plus with the latest version of iOS.
Its so good to have this app back again! I absolutely love it, and I'll be using it all the time. FlickType is amazing. However, I also experience the bug where it puts me in the status bar when I come back to type again. I have an iphone 7 running the latest version of iOS. Other than that, I think its running great. I'll let you know if I find anything else to report.
Hi, I have the same problem, but can't get it to happen consistently, otherwise I'd have done as requested. It doesn't happen every time, and it doesn't seem to make a difference whether I use app switcher to return, or come back in through the home screen.
hi all, I have been experimenting with flick type for a while, and I really don't know if its me or if I have been spoiled by braille screen input, but it rarely gets words right for me first time and I usually have to flick down through several suggestions to get the one I want.
does the app need optimizing for the iPhone x screen or something? as I rarely get a word I want first time, I used to be really great with fleksy back in the day, but then I was using it on a smaller screen I suppose.
another thing is sometimes when I swipe right for a space I get a period or full stop instead of a space this is even when its in letter mode.
if there are accuracy improvements planned then great, otherwise I am not sure if I can see myself using it over other input methods.
Thanks for reporting! We sent out build 20 a couple of hours ago and we're hoping this has resolved the issue. When you get the chance would you please let us know how build 20 works for you?
Thanks for your comments. FlickType is currently behaving oddly on iPhone X. One big issue that we've discovered is the keyboard is too low on the screen so we will be moving it higher. We currently only have a simulator for testing on an X that's not working well, but we will be getting our own device soon so we can test properly and improve performance.
Appreciate the feedback!
Hi, aah that probably explains why I am not getting good results, I thought I was much more accurate in the old days, I will hang in there and wait for further improvements then.
is flick type any good at typing web addresses and email addresses?
I listened to the interview on blind abilities, you didn't really go into the historical background on why we were used to fund fleksy development, then it went free, and why after that it lost its way and started adding in all the graphical rubbish and eventually it was decided to not bother with accessibility at all and to stop engaging with the blind community.
Hi Alex! For websites, if you use the period and the at symbol from the top row of characters it does not add a space and you can also flick down to automatically add at Gmail, etc from the top row at symbol, and .com, etc from the period in the top row.
We really enjoyed talking with Jeff from Blind Abilities but we did not get the opportunity to have that conversation. Next week, however, will be having this historical conversation with AppleVis’ podcast team. The team is going to help us to give all of you a cohesive picture that we hope will answer your questions. We believe this topic is better suited for a verbal conversational format, but in case any questions remain we will be opening up a post as promised.
The latest beta, I think it’s build 23 seems to be working great. I'll let you guys know if I find anything new. :-)
Hello, I have emailed the listed address twice to beta test this app and have not received a response. Could some one please tell me how I can get on this beta test group. I work as a technology instructor and would like to show this to my students. Thnks for any help!
I teach technology, but don't plan to show this until it is available, not really fair to show folks something that will be difficult to obtain. Not everybody is comfortable or cut out for beta testing.
We're sorry to hear you're having troubles. I've checked every Michael or Mike that we have received emails from, and only one has not yet installed. I'm not sure if that's you, but I just resent the invite to that person. We have received one other person where we didn't receive his first email, but we did receive his second. Please send us an email at email@example.com or you can direct message us your email on Twitter with your email.
Hope we are able to get the beta in your hands soon!
Build 27 should have better accuracy with shorter words on the iPhone X. Please let us know if it works better for you.
And as Ashley mentioned, we're looking forward to our interview with AppleVis this week.
I have a iPhone x and just updated flick type keyboard. It works so much better now that the keyboard was raised a little bit. I can honestly say I can type as hast as I type on a regular keyboard. It is so amazing. I can type as fast as my daughter, son and girl friend. This is so amazing and I really love it a lot. Keep up the awesome job!