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BlackBerry device user input and navigation

BlackBerry devices include a keyboard, a trackwheel, trackball, or trackpad, and an Escape key, for input and navigation. On BlackBerry devices with a SurePress touch screen, clicking the screen is equivalent to clicking the trackball or trackwheel.

Your app should use the following input and navigation model as closely as possible.
  • Clicking the trackwheel, trackball, trackpad, or touch screen typically invokes a menu.

  • Pressing the Escape key cancels actions or returns to the previous screen. Pressing the Escape key repeatedly returns users to the Home screen. Holding the Escape key closes the browser or media application.

By default, the BlackBerry screen objects provide this functionality without customization; however, you must add menu items and additional UI and navigation logic.

Touch screen

On BlackBerry devices with a SurePress touch screen, users use a finger to interact with the applications on the device. Users type text and navigate screens by performing various actions on the touch screen.

Users can also perform actions by clicking icons on the shortcut bar or by pressing the Menu key.

On BlackBerry devices with a touch screen, users can perform the following actions:

Action

Result

touch the screen lightly

This action highlights an item.

In a text field, if users touch the screen near the cursor, an outlined box displays around the cursor. This box helps users reposition the cursor more easily.

tap the screen

In applications that support a full-screen view, such as BlackBerry Maps and the BlackBerry Browser, this action hides and shows the shortcut bar.

tap the screen twice

On a web page, map, picture, or presentation attachment, this action zooms in to the web page, map, picture, or presentation attachment.

hold a finger on an item

On the shortcut bar, this action displays a tooltip that describes the action that the icon represents.

In a message list, if users hold a finger on the sender or subject of a message, the BlackBerry device searches for the sender or subject.

touch and drag an item on the screen

This action moves the content on the screen in the corresponding direction. For example, when users touch and drag a menu item, the list of menu items moves in the same direction.

In a text field, this action moves the outlined box and the cursor in the same direction.

touch the screen in two locations at the same time

This action highlights the text or the list of items, such as messages, between the two locations. To add or remove highlighted text or items, users can touch the screen at another location.

click (press) the screen

This action initiates an action. For example, when users click an item in a list, the screen that is associated with the item appears. This action is equivalent to clicking the trackwheel, trackball or trackpad.

On a map, picture, or presentation attachment, this action zooms in to the map, picture, or presentation attachment. On a web page, this action zooms in to the web page or follows a link.

In a text field, this action positions the cursor. If the field contains text, an outlined box appears around the cursor.

slide a finger up or down quickly on the screen

Quickly sliding a finger up displays the next screen. Quickly sliding a finger down displays the previous screen.

When the keyboard appears, quickly sliding a finger down hides the keyboard and displays the shortcut bar.

slide a finger to the left or right quickly on the screen

This action displays the next or previous picture or message, or the next or previous day, week, or month in a calendar.

slide a finger up or down on the screen

In the camera, sliding a finger up zooms in to a subject. Sliding a finger down zooms out from a subject.

slide a finger in any direction

This action pans a map or web page. If users zoom in to a picture, this action also pans a picture.

press the Escape key

This action removes the highlight from text or a list of items.

On a web page, map, or picture, this action zooms out one level. Users can press the Escape key twice to zoom back to the original view.

Trackball or trackpad

On BlackBerry devices with a trackball or trackpad, the trackball or trackpad is the primary control for user navigation. Users can perform the following actions:

  • Roll the trackball or slide a finger on the trackpad to move the cursor.
  • Click the trackball or trackpad to perform default actions or open a context menu.
  • Click the trackball or trackpad while pressing the Shift key to highlight text or highlight messages in a message list.

BlackBerry devices with a trackball or trackpad also include a Menu key that is located to the left of the trackball or trackpad. Users can press the Menu key to open a full menu of available actions.

Trackball sensitivity

Trackball sensitivity refers to the amount of trackball movement that the system requires to identify the movement as a navigation event, and to send a navigation event to the software layer. The BlackBerry device hardware measures physical trackball movement by using units called ticks. When the number of ticks along an axis surpasses the threshold of the system or a BlackBerry device application, a navigation event is sent to the software layer, and the system resets the tick count to zero. Tick counts are also reset to zero after a certain amount of idle time passes.

You can use the Trackball API to set the trackball sensitivity. High trackball sensitivity equates to a smaller tick threshold (a small amount of trackball movement generates a navigation event). Low trackball sensitivity equates to a larger tick threshold (a larger amount of trackball movement is required to generate a navigation event).

Trackball movement

You can use the Trackball API to filter the trackball movement data that the BlackBerry device hardware sends to the software layer. The Trackball API can filter out movement noise or unwanted movements.

You can also use the Trackball API to change settings such as trackball movement acceleration. Increasing the trackball movement acceleration setting can result in the software layer identifying trackball movements as moving at a faster rate than the rate detected by the BlackBerry device hardware, as long as the user continually rolls the trackball. The trackball sensitivity temporarily increases as the user rolls the trackball without pausing.

Trackwheel

BlackBerry devices that precede the BlackBerry Pearl 8100 Series use a trackwheel as the primary control for user navigation. The trackwheel is located on the right side of the BlackBerry device.

Users can perform the following actions:

  • roll the trackwheel to move the cursor vertically
  • roll the trackwheel while pressing the Alt key to move the cursor horizontally
  • click the trackwheel to initiate an action or open the menu

Keyboard

Users use the keyboard primarily to type text. Character keys send a character to the BlackBerry device. A modifier key alters the functionality of character keys. Modifier keys include the Shift key and the Alt key. When users press a modifier key, a typing mode indicator appears in the upper-right corner of the screen.

On BlackBerry devices without a touch screen, users can also use the keyboard to move around a screen (for example, to move around a map). However, navigation using the keyboard should always be an alternative to navigation using the trackwheel, trackball, or trackpad.

BlackBerry devices have either a full keyboard or a reduced keyboard. On BlackBerry devices with a SurePress touch screen, in most cases, the full keyboard appears in landscape view and the reduced keyboard appears in portrait view.

Interaction methods on BlackBerry devices

BlackBerry device model

Interaction method

BlackBerry 7100 Series

trackwheel

BlackBerry 8700 Series

trackwheel

BlackBerry 8800 Series

trackball

BlackBerry Bold 9000 smartphone

trackball

BlackBerry Bold 9650 smartphone

smartphone

trackpad

BlackBerry Curve 8300 Series

trackball

BlackBerry Curve 8500 Series

trackpad

smartphone

trackball

BlackBerry Pearl 8100 Series

trackball

BlackBerry Pearl Flip 8200 Series

trackball

BlackBerry Storm 9500 Series

touch screen

BlackBerry Tour 9630 smartphone

trackball