Touch screen keyboard

A touch screen keyboard appears on all-touch BlackBerry smartphones when a user taps in a text field or text area. A user can also display the keyboard by dragging two fingers from the bottom of the screen. A user can hide the keyboard by dragging two fingers to the bottom of the screen, or by touching and holding the space key.

Best practices

For a task that mostly requires typing (for example, replying to a message or adding a new contact), give focus to the correct field so that the touch screen keyboard appears when the screen opens.

For a task where typing is optional (for example, the text message chat view, which is used mostly for reading a conversation thread), don't put focus on the text field. Allow the user to tap the text field to bring up the keyboard when they are ready to type.

If you use a static layout, make sure users can still reach important parts of the UI. If you need to, place actions inline.

The keyboard covers the action bar, so try to avoid placing important actions where the keyboard will pop up often.

Device showing a touch screen keyboard typing example.

Physical keyboard

Many users (especially existing BlackBerry smartphone users), prefer a physical keyboard to get things done quickly. Consider scenarios where it makes sense for users to start typing to complete a task in your app. For example, in date and time pickers, a user can choose the time by starting to type.

Best practices

Use shortcut keys to make repetitive tasks easier and promote one-handed use. Give users direct access to common actions for a specific screen. For example, allow users to press "T" to move to the top, "C" to compose a message, "S" to search, "I" to zoom in, and "O" to zoom out.

Use the keyboard for direct action. For example, set focus on a field so that users can just start typing.

Don't force users to switch between the keyboard and the touch screen. Let users use the keyboard to complete a task.

Shortcuts are just shortcuts. Make sure there is another way of performing an action in your app.

Passport showing a three-row keyboard.

Device showing a physical keyboard typing example.

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