SiWriter: an app for all

SiWriter - a text entry method that's a bit different. The detailed instructions.

The first step is to get your fingers over the pads, or , put the pads under your fingers. It is possible to SiWrite 'out of the box' but only if your fingers just happen to fit where the pads are. Mine don't, so I had to write a pad configuration system. I have not thought up a good name for it yet as you can tell. You can use it by tapping the sensibly named 'Settings' button at the top, or top left of the iPad SiWriter display. That turns on two tool bars, one at the top, the other at  the bottom of the screen. I have called the control ‘Alter Pads’, slide it to the green ‘On’ state and the relevant panel is displayed. You can turn off the tool bars at any time by tapping 'done' at the bottom right of the screen or tapping the Settings button again. adjustPads

From the top down, the icons should be IOS7 style self explanatory, but I bet they are not so I will describe them.

The two hand icons at the top switch between the default right handed system and the new left handed layout. I shall stick with describing the right handed methods because I am a right hander and the left hand version is just a mirror image of those codes.

If you have the iPad laying flat as you play with it, tapping a hand icon may mess the screen up. This is because the iPad is not really sure if it should be in portrait or landscape mode. It is constantly listening for a clue and it gets contradictory messages when the iPad is flat, or slightly tilted. You can fix this in two ways. One, tilt it more. Two, disable the orientation change facility by going to the iPad main settings area. I'd just tilt it more for now.

Next, the two twisted arrows - these turn the finger pads so that you don’t have to angle the iPad to match your arm position.

The Left and Right pointing straight arrows will, when tapped, move  the entire set of finger pads in the arrow’s direction. This is true for Up and Down too. The next row is intended to show arrows pointing inwards and outwards vertically - these change the height of the finger pads. The next row changes the finger pad widths - all of them at once. Finally, the gaps between the pads are controlled by the arrows with gaps in them.

adjustPads The reset button puts the pads back to the default state.

You can get rid of the pad adjustment panel by tapping the Close button at the top or sliding the ‘Adjust Pads’ switch back to its white ‘Off’ position.

The next two entries on the bottom toolbar let you use a photograph for the background of the App. You can take one via the app or select one from any you have in the iPad. You need a different image for portrait and landscape modes. Using a photo background lessens the overall display flicker as the iPad tilts.

Done, closes the bottom toolbar- just like tapping ‘Settings’.

One more thing on this bar - at the far left is a slider switch called ‘ Speech’. This enables either of two modes of announcing the text. These modes are selected from the new toolbar that opens when Speech is enabled. By default, text is announced as each word is typed, as indicated by entering the space after the word. This is a stilted voice, but will talk at the same rate that you type. The second mode gives far better speech, but it will only talk once a sentence has been completed with a full stop, an exclamation mark or a question mark.

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