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Option for a smaller input area for iPad?

nikander   November 25th, 2012 3:30p.m.

Great looking ipad app guys!

However I believe that lots of people prefer writing on a small screen compared to the bigger variant that's offered on the ipad. It's really not ergonomically at all to write on the ipad after a while and it takes a lot of time to write so very big hanzis.

Wouldn't it be great to have an option to choose a smaller input square for hanzi's below and then utilize the rest of the screen for something else? Just a suggestion however, cause I'm finding myself always going back to my iphone when I have to write lots of hanzis!

Keep up the great work, and thanx!


nick   November 25th, 2012 3:37p.m.

When we were beta-testing this, we heard one or two suggestions like this, but most users were into the larger writing area, and it's really hard for us to offer multiple sizes. I wonder, now that we have much more exposure, what other opinions are on the writing size?

Phoboss   November 25th, 2012 4:04p.m.

I agree with nikander. Of course, it look nice if you write big characters but it's not that practical. Now I need 2x more time for my daily skrittering. Couldn't you add just the 1x and 2x button from the previous version?

ali   November 25th, 2012 4:40p.m.

I am concerned about the ergonomics. Within a week of getting an ipad, I developed hot needle pains in my fingertips so I now use a stylus. On the new app, writing is now more like doing brush calligraphy- large and nowhere to rest the hand - and it's just too slow. I tried to write small on the new app,and it's amazing how well it recognises the misplaced character but it nevertheless gets confused too often and that wastes more time. So I hope for the moment I can continue to use the iPhone app on my ipad and get any updates without automatically getting 'upgraded' to the ipad app.

pprendeville   November 25th, 2012 6:28p.m.

Personally I like writing large characters on iPad.

dc1   November 25th, 2012 7:09p.m.

I use the old "2x" version and dont want to miss the larger canvas. that way I can see the small differences of similar kanji much better. To me most kanji look like beautiful paintings, not words consisting several strokes. after a few months I start seeing the radicals, so I am starting to get the bigger picture at a faster response time. Still, I need the larger canvas-size to help me see all of the aspects of a complex kanji.

long story short: larger canvas please (same as in old 2x mode)

podster   November 26th, 2012 12:35a.m.

Let me ask a stupid question: I have an iPhone 4 and have been happily skrittering on it since the app was introduced. I am thinking about getting an iPad mini, especially now that the new iPad version of Skritter is out. Given that the iPhone seems adequate for inputting single characters, what benefits, if any, will I see from using Skritter on an iPad instead of a phone? I was thinking the main appeal of the larger screen would be that it would display fonts in a larger size and therefore be easier to read, but it sounds like it won't be any more comfortable than an iPhone for writing purposes (and maybe worse?).

swimming   November 26th, 2012 2:16a.m.

Congratulations on getting the ipad version out! It is useful to be able to study single lists.

But, I also feel that the writing area is way too big. I was very happy with the size of the writing area in the previous version and was _not_ using the x2 option. I was hoping that the ipad version would have a writing area of a similar size with more relevant information around. (For example, I am always curious to see when was the last time I studied a character or a word. At least now I can find it in the info.)

Also, I must admit I don't like the "formica" background. Is it possible to change it to something more Chinese?

Neil Mc   November 26th, 2012 4:46a.m.

I am quite happy with the size of the writing area on the Ipad. I plan to get myself a stylus for longer sessions. The only problem is that I keep accidentally hitting the next button as it seems to cover a portion of the drawing space. It would be helpful if the next button could be resticted to the space on the right of the drawing panel.

mreid   November 26th, 2012 7:09a.m.

I'd also prefer an option to use a smaller writing area. I was originally unhappy with using an iPhone app on the iPad, until I saw the advantages of the small writing area. With the large writing area, I find it hard to make the strokes accurately. I'm worrying that this is not training me to write Chinese, but rather to paint Chinese billboards!

At the large size, I find the ink-bleeding animation more distracting. Is there a way to turn that off? I poked around in the settings and didn't see it.

Marian Rosenberg   November 26th, 2012 9:10a.m.

I find it difficult to look at the whole of the character with the current size.
Ditto on the accidentally pressing next.
Accidentally inputting things when trying to hit back.
Finding that the new writing area is bigg than the old 2x.
Also slightly distracted by the ink bleed...

俞翰森   November 26th, 2012 9:38a.m.

I am also very found of the new larger size. For me it reinforces my visual memory. I do not have any problem with the smaller icons but can agree that it would be nice to have them larger. The Ink bleeding is also none of my favorites.

Alan   November 27th, 2012 12:27p.m.

With the iPad's bigger screen, there might be room for 'next' and 'previous' buttons outside of the character drawing area without using any of the character area itself.

nick   November 27th, 2012 1:14p.m.

Thanks for the feedback on the writing size, all. It's something we'll keep in mind, but understand that allowing another size is very complicated.

For those having troubles with hit areas on back/next: please weigh in on this thread and help me debug where the problem spots are: http://www.skritter.com/forum/topic?id=238209032

The next and back buttons do sit outside of the character drawing area, Alan. Do you mean that no back/next taps slightly inside the character drawing area should be accepted, or perhaps that you wish the buttons were visible all the time?

We had a several valiant beta testers try the iPad version, but not nearly as many people were interested in testing buggy builds for us as before we launched the iPhone app, when that was the only way to get Skritter on iOS. And we used up pretty much all of our Apple-allowed device tester slots until the reset in February, so we couldn't really recruit new testers, either.

Alan   November 27th, 2012 7:35p.m.

The distinction between what is the 'drawing area' and what is the button area isn't very clear, but that is the style that you have chosen to use. I would probably favour the more boring approach of a clearly distinct drawing area and clearly delimited buttons, but that would probably look a lot uglier.

范大伟   November 29th, 2012 6:31a.m.

I just updated (iPad)
I can guess how much work went into the update, but I simply cannot work at all on such a big canevas. This is a big, big, let down. I fell like my arm is moving all the time, not just my wrist. Feels like painting, and not at all like writing.
I have tried to force myself using it for 30mn, but I really do not get it.
It feels soo slow to "paint" such uge caracteres.

If it's too difficult to offer a smaller canevas, could we have an option to keep the the previous version ? I really wish I could simply undo the update.

Sorry to be a pain. I am real Skritter fan. But I simply cannot adapt to such huge canevas.

blakomen   December 1st, 2012 6:45a.m.

I kind of agree here - while I understand the 2x version of the iPhone app that we all used to use, I'm not sure that throwing in high resolution imagery and calling it a day is really the best way forward for the iPad / larger dimension interface.

In some respects, some things actually went backwards in my opinion - the (i) button to bring up more info actually became a smaller touch target to hit, and dark theme got lost in the transition, and (as this thread calls out) the canvas area is unnecessarily large, though perhaps we'd all become excellent signwriters

For the iphone, since the available area is small, I understand having hidden areas for next/previous word and clear word, but the up-stroke to clear the word can be frustrating to trigger, and when using an ipad, i don't see why we can't have an actual button to clear it, or to move forward/back on words...or pull in the example sentences on the screen

tldr; agree in principle for a smaller input area for ipad - but only because i think the rest of the ui could make better use of the space the ipad affords

blakomen   December 1st, 2012 6:47a.m.

(and unrelated semi-gripe: i get that the flippy animation looks nice when you hit the (i) button; but for me personally it feels like it takes far too long, and actually slows me down *just* enough for me to notice. the time spent waiting for that flip once is minimal, but over one day it adds up, and over a month... is the flip animation worth the time waiting for it?)

radiator   December 1st, 2012 6:18p.m.

I believe that the iPad should have a variety of flexible ways to input, depending on the situation.

1) Large - Portrait (i.e., current mode). I personally feel this is way too big.
2) Large - Landscape (I do not believe this to be supported right now but it is in the works). FYI that there is very little I do with the iPad in portrait mode. Most iPad cases do not angle well (or provide any options) for angling the iPad in landscape.
3) Small Landscape Right - Usually, if i was writing on a desk, I would want to be writing on the the right side (I am right handed). Furthermore, I personally do not want to be writing huge letters as I believe it is not natural, and does not translate as well as writing smaller characters, which will ultimately be used to either input to an electronic device, or be used for writing on paper - all of which will typically be much smaller characters.
4) Small Landscape Left - there are situations such as lying in bed, where writing ont he right side of the iPad is not practical, and writing on the left side is. Be it a right handed person writing in bed, or a left handed person wanting access to the left side of the screen.

A much more "natural" input support I would like to see is to be able to write two or more characters on the screen prior to skritter interpretation, rather than just one. Writing a single character and then another character on a different screen is somewhat unnatural and disruptive from my perspective - and there is lots of space on the iPad to support this, even for phrases and sentences.

And as for any extra space, it could be devoted to showing definitions, memes, sample sentences, etc. All with the option for the user to hide, roll up or down, or whatever, per what they believe they want to see. Per usual… easier said than done :)

nick   December 2nd, 2012 12:32a.m.

Some of our responses to these suggestions are summarized/addressed here:


blakomen, I'll remove the flip animation on the info button.

radiator, we are not going to make a landscape mode.

Sample sentences will be in both iPhone and iPad apps, right above the mnemonics which are currently there. That's already in the design, but the new sentence system is not done yet, so we're not putting the old one in there.

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