Continue Development/Engage With SwiftKey Symbols
SwiftKey was recently acquired by MS - one of their greenhouse apps is SwiftKey Symbols providing keyboard input to non-literate (cognitively disabled) users - also AAC (speech output for aphasic users) on mobile devices. Would be fantastic to see this keyboard further developed/implemented across the wider Windows ecosystem and engagement from the MS Accessibility Teams - potential user group is larger than you might assume ~ 1% population.
I wanted to follow up with you to give you an update on your request.
Although we are a small team, we do have plans to develop SwiftKey Symbols further on the Android ecosystem. We have just released an update with the following features:
- Admin mode, a separate location for editing the symbols to minimize distractions in the main communication app
- Better image cropping support
- RTL support with Arabic translations
- Swipe predictions to hide them temporarily, to encourage creativity
We have further plans to work on the accessibility of the app including contrast, resizing, and customizability. We also are thinking about how to enable sharing symbol collections for use in schools, and of course how we can expand from Android to other platforms. Initial investigation into the latter was not very promising and would take us a significant amount of time to do ourselves. We also want to test out the app a bit more on Android first to ensure the proposition is strong and the product really is useful.
The link to the app is here which includes more detail on the latest update: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.swiftkey.symbols&hl=en_GB
Please let us know if there’s anything else we can do. In the meantime, we’ll keep updating you as to new developments around this request.
The Microsoft Disability Answer Desk team.
Simon Evans commented
Hi Alice, thanks for replying - sorry I only just noticed. I hope you're able to continue development and move to other platforms - you've certainly amassed some very positive feedback for the Android release.
Alice Rosam commented
I'm part of the SwiftKey Symbols team. We're so glad to hear you're interested in developing the product with us. We've been working closely with a special school in London and we have developed a roadmap for Android from their feedback. However, making the app cross-platform would be really valuable and we'd be up for collaborating across Microsoft on this and other ideas.
We could perhaps make some progress on this during this year's hack week, what do you think?