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10 Commandments of Building a Virtual Keyboard App

Reading Time: 5 minutes


In today’s digital age, the virtual keyboard is not just an application but a fundamental tool for communication across various platforms. As smartphones become the primary device for interaction, the demand for efficient, feature-rich keyboard applications has escalated. Recognizing this, developers face the challenge of creating intuitive, innovative, and fast-performing keyboard apps. Opting for a robust framework or Software Development Kit (SDK) like Fleksy, instead of starting from scratch, can significantly streamline development processes, allowing developers to focus on unique features rather than reinventing the wheel.

1. Prioritize Easy Installation and Onboarding

The first interaction a user has with your keyboard app is crucial. Simplifying the installation process ensures that users do not abandon the app due to complexity. Once installed, guiding users through a series of setup steps is equally important. These steps should educate users about the keyboard’s functionalities and benefits, such as enhanced privacy features, a wide array of emojis, or superior predictive typing, thus solidifying their decision to switch from their default keyboards.

Impact of Neglect: 

Failing to simplify the installation and onboarding process can lead to high abandonment rates. Users often have little patience for cumbersome setups and may opt for competitors with more user-friendly interfaces right from the start.

Further Reading: 

Explore strategies for enhancing user onboarding in mobile applications at UserOnboard, which provides breakdowns of popular apps and their onboarding techniques.

2. Design a Clear and Intuitive User Interface

A user-friendly interface is paramount. Take inspiration from successful layouts by giants like Apple and Google, which focus on minimalism and ease of use. Your design should incorporate familiarity, allowing users to adapt quickly while introducing innovative elements that distinguish your app from others. Consider the size and spacing of keys, the placement of commonly used functions, and customizable themes that enhance the user experience without cluttering the interface.

Impact of Neglect: 

A cluttered or confusing UI can frustrate users, leading to poor reviews and decreased user engagement. Users value efficiency and ease of use, especially in tools as frequently used as keyboards.

Further Reading: 

Nielsen Norman Group offers extensive research and articles on mobile UI design best practices

3. Ensure High-Quality Autocorrection and Word Prediction

Text correction and prediction are the backbones of any keyboard app. High-quality autocorrection reduces frustration and increases typing speed by minimizing errors. Implementing a sophisticated algorithm that learns from the user’s typing habits can significantly improve the accuracy of word prediction. Discussing technological advancements in natural language processing (NLP) will be critical here, as they form the basis of effective predictive typing.

Impact of Neglect: 

Inaccurate autocorrection and poor word prediction can diminish the user experience, leading to inefficiency and annoyance. This can tarnish the app’s reputation, as users expect smart and adaptive typing assistance.

Further Reading: 

For insights into building advanced text prediction systems, visit our Blog post on the matter called Ensuring high-quality auto-correction for 80+ languages

4. Incorporate Advanced Swipe and Emoji Input Features

Swipe typing and extensive emoji options are no longer just additional features; they are expected in any competitive keyboard app. These features should be seamlessly integrated and easy to access. For swiping, ensure the motion is fluid and responsive. For emojis, regularly update your library to include culturally and socially relevant icons, keeping your app current and engaging.

Impact of Neglect: 

Lack of innovative input methods like swipe gestures and comprehensive emoji support can make the app feel outdated. It limits user expression and reduces competitiveness in a market where novelty is a significant draw.

5. Support Multiple Languages to Cater to a Global Audience

Global reach requires multi-language support. This not only increases your app’s marketability but also its usability. Developers must handle the complexities of various language scripts and input methods, which can be daunting. Utilizing a comprehensive SDK can simplify this, providing built-in support for multiple languages, thus saving time and reducing the risk of errors.

Impact of Neglect: 

Ignoring the need for multilingual support restricts market reach and alienates non-English speaking users. In today’s global market, inclusivity in language support is critical for broad adoption.

6. Leverage a Reliable Keyboard SDK

A robust SDK like Fleksy offers numerous advantages. It reduces development time, ensures a stable and tested base, and provides a wealth of features that can be complex to develop in-house, such as advanced gesture controls. Compare this approach with open-source solutions, which, while cost-effective and flexible, may involve additional maintenance and security risks, not to mention the need for extensive customization.

Impact of Neglect: 

Opting out of using a reliable SDK can lead to extended development times, increased costs, and potential instability in your application. SDKs provide a tested foundation that accelerates development and ensures a higher quality product.

Further Reading: 

Fleksy’s SDK provides detailed information on benefits and features, which is a valuable resource for developers considering an SDK.

7. Ensure Responsiveness and Speed

Performance optimization is critical. Your keyboard must be responsive and fast, as any lag can significantly disrupt the user experience. Techniques such as reducing memory usage, optimizing data structures, and using efficient algorithms are vital for maintaining high performance. Regular testing across different devices and platforms is necessary to ensure consistent performance.

Impact of Neglect: 

A slow or unresponsive keyboard can be extremely detrimental, leading to a poor user experience and ultimately user abandonment. Performance is critical in tools used as frequently as keyboards.

8. Implement Robust Privacy and Security Features

Privacy and security are paramount, especially when handling sensitive input like passwords and personal data. Implementing end-to-end encryption, secure data storage, and transparent user data policies are essential to build trust with your users. Additionally, being upfront about your app’s data handling practices can prevent potential legal issues and foster a positive relationship with your user base.

Impact of Neglect: 

Neglecting privacy and security can lead to data breaches, loss of user trust, and legal consequences. In an era where data privacy is paramount, securing user data is a necessity.

Further Reading: 

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) offers guidelines on securing software applications. Visit their security practices at EFF’s Security.

9. Regularly Update the App with New Features

Keeping your app updated with new features and technological advancements is crucial to stay relevant in the competitive app market. Regular updates show users that you are committed to improving their experience and responding to their feedback, which can significantly improve user retention rates.

Impact of Neglect: 

Failure to update the app can make it become irrelevant as user needs and technology evolve. Regular updates keep the app competitive and show commitment to user satisfaction.

10. Gather and Implement User Feedback

Feedback is invaluable. It helps you understand user needs and preferences. Implementing a robust feedback mechanism within the app allows you to gather insights directly from your users. Use this data to refine and enhance your application, making it more user-centric and effective.

Impact of Neglect: 

Not incorporating user feedback can lead to misaligned product development and missed opportunities to connect with the user base. Feedback is crucial for iterative development and staying aligned with user needs.

Further Reading: 

For strategies on effectively gathering and implementing user feedback, visit UserVoice Blog, which offers tips and case studies on user feedback management.


Developing a virtual keyboard app that stands out requires attention to detail, a focus on user experience, and the implementation of advanced technological solutions. By following these ten commandments, developers can create a compelling product that appeals to a diverse user base, ensuring both functionality and innovation. Adopting these guidelines will pave the way for success in the evolving landscape of mobile applications.

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