It’s Better Than Swype, But SwiftKey’s New Flow Feature Isn’t Perfect, Yet

Posted by on February 20, 2013 at 11:23 am


I don’t hate Swype, but at several key levels, I despise it. Because all the cool kids want it though, SwiftKey has spent a lot of time developing their new Flow feature, which will satiate your need to gesture a single thumb across your keyboard to generate words on your smartphone rather than pecking them out with both. I love SwiftKey and while Flow is a better experience than Swype, it’s not quite ready to win me over to swipe-based mobile keyboarding.

Where Flow succeeds: Flow works because it’s based on SwiftKey’s predictive text, which has worked for its normal keyboarding for ages. It obviously won’t work for predictive phrases like when you’re pecking on the keyboard and it suggests the next word, but it can pick up particular words, even ones that you’ve forced to learn camel-casing and so forth. It also includes the spacebar in the action, allowing you to tie multiple words together and swipe out an entire sentence before needing to punctuate.

Where Flow needs work: Like Swype, word assembly can go awry quickly. Particular words, “weird” did this for a time, despite my colleagues having no issues, simply would not come together. At that point, you’re either forcing yourself to gesture the word over and over to either learn what you’re doing wrong or overcome what it is, but then you just wasted all that time on one word. While you can confirm your sequence of words as you go along, it’s not long before you’ll need to lift your thumb to either correct an error or add punctuation, the latter of which should be included at some level, at least amongst commas and periods. Also, for obvious reasons, it disables the ‘swipe left to erase’ gesture when Flow is enabled, which is probably my most used gesture anyway.

I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, but it’s not quite ready for me, yet. If you don’t already own SwiftKey, you should anyway.

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