While I was working on generating ideas for my Accessible Object Project: People with Arthritis; I thought of an option for smartphones that would change the location of the keyboard from the bottom of the screen to the top. The concept of the design would allow the user to hold more of the phone’s body while typing.
With the standard typing layout, your hands need to support all the phone’s weight by gripping only the bottom half of the body. This position creates a lever with the force from the top-half of the phone on finger joints is amplified. This force can cause pain on sensitive joints when typing.
The concept changes the location of the virtual keyboard from the bottom of the phone’s screen to the top.
With my proposed option for the virtual keyboard, the thumbs would be positioned at the top of the phone. This position enables the user to utilise their whole hand to support the phone’s weight. This has two benefits: (1) allows the phone to be held in the palms, and therefore, (2) it eliminates the leverage from the top of the phone. Being able to use larger joints is important when minimising pain from sensitive joints.
I wasn’t able to the wide-spread user research that I wanted to do for this concept with such a basic prototype. I wanted to find prototyping software that would allow me to insert a keyboard.
I look forward to being able to continue work with this concept but I think I need to work with someone else.