Custom Keyboard occupies large part of the screen on iPad

The new custom keyboard occupies substantial part of the screen in Panda, perhaps 3-4x the space of what it is in Bear.

I find the buttons within the custom keyboard too large and the viewport is reduced quite a lot.

While only having used the app for the last two hours, I’m still conflicted about the size.

I see it this way… the only con about this setup is the size.

However, the pros are:

  1. the larger buttons make tapping it easier on the iPad, and make it feel more like it was designed to work on a touch screen. The previous rendition in Bear felt more like a desktop environment.
  2. the tap to hold function to bring up related options helps save space and the arrows indicate which buttons have more options.
  3. since most of the functions are available in CommonMark or with keyboard shortcuts, I don’t feel the need to have this custom keyboard up all the time. I surprised that is persistent, but I feel like that is the right call. The only functions that are uniquely accessible through this menu are: attach, document scanner, camera, add photo, add date/time, and then left justify, center justify, and right justify in the “tables” keyboard variant.
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To e be honest I like the bigger layout but I wonder why there is no scan option for iPad

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The scan option is under the sub menu for attachments. Since it uses the camera, I thought it would be under the photo icon, but I guess since it makes a PDF, they considered that an attachment.

Thanks! I was looking under camera as well

Hello @eranay,

that version of the keyboard is what we friendly call “Touch Bar” version. It is available only when you have an external keyboard attached and it was designed to have the buttons about the same size of the keys of the iPad Magic Keyboard.

This is because we see it as an extension of the keyboard you have under your fingers and in our testing it’s very handy to reach (almost) not moving your hands from the home row when using a Magic Keyboard. That’s why we’ve decided to make it persistent.

We also think that on iPad there was enough space above it, when you are in input mode and that you would not need it (so will toggle it out) when you are in read mode.

Let me know if this reasoning makes sense to you, or if you have suggestions to improve the experience.

Thanks @everyone for pointing our the confusion with the Scan button, I will let the rest of the team know and we will decide if to move it.

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Thank you for sharing your design reasoning.

I’ve continued to use this “Touch Bar” version with your vision in mind on my iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard and I do find it useful the way you have designed it (and why it is persistent).

Great work!

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I think I have now pinpointed what is bugging me about the “Touch Bar” version

It boils down to two things:

Takes away attention from text typed at the bottom of the screen
Whenever typing at the top of the screen I don’t mind it as much. However, most typing happens at the very bottom of the screen just above the Touch Bar (this might be perhaps improved by the Typewriter mode or by changing the distance between the currently typed text and the Touch Bar)

I find my eyes naturally fall on the Touch Bar as there is way more visual interest/clutter and I find re-focusing on the text whenever I loose contact with it even for a second takes longer than in Bear.

I would guess that playing around with different color themes might alleviate this somehow.

Lastly, whenever I want to use the predictive text at the very bottom of the screen it now blends in with the touch bar and it’s harder to identify at a glance (especially because , B, I, U etc is just above, whereas before it wasn’t above the prediction but more towards the left)

Images bellow show the distance between text and the Touch Bar as well as the difference in color theming:

Breaks few of the patterns established in the current version (Bear used with an external keyboard on iPad)
In Bear this “Touch Bar” blends in with the text area (i.e. the background for the text and for the touch bar is the same color). In Panda the Touch Bar blends with the System Tray (not sure what is the proper name for this part). This creates a bigger visual chunk and I find it somehow harder to find individual elements (whether it is the odd shortcut I don’t use very often or even the text prediction).

I would mostly use just the navigation keys (move up and down a row or moving rows) which are positioned on the right hand side in Bear. I am right handed so this perhaps plays a role. In Panda those keys are in the opposite corner and the the up/down a row are missing.

I always use iPad (Pro 12.9) with an external keyboard (Logitech k380). I use the Touch Bar mostly for things I rarely use and I forgot the keyboard shortcut for them or for navigation around the screen.

I think I generally operate in two modes - one is using only the keyboard, the other one is using only the screen (this would be mostly for navigation, sometimes with the help of the Touch Bar)

Apologies for taking so long to respond, I hope this is helpful.