It was not a decision we made lightly, but it was necessary. Since pursuing the ambitious plan to create a keyboard SDK that all iOS apps can use, we realized that the technical challenges of this strategy were pretty huge. It is no wonder that other keyboard companies, some much larger than us, have not managed to succeed in this feat.
We didn’t want to leave our community of blind users behind, but neither did we want to see people suffer from the inevitable bugs we would introduce in the process. Thats’ why we temporarily created a stable app for VoiceOver users to be used in the transition period.
Today, we are pleased to announce full accessibility is restored in our main app. Get the update and try it yourself: Fleksy on the App Store.
This comes along a full redesign bringing a sleek user interface, optimizations for tablets, and more. We had committed to reach this milestone in 6 months, but we’ve worked twice as hard and we are delivering in less than 3 months.
The new, fully accessible Fleksy app has some more benefits especially for VoiceOver users, which we worked extremely hard for:
- Type in 8 new languages. Our sighted users have seen these introduced recently, but they had not been made available in the VoiceOver app.
- From now on, every new language introduced will be automatically available for all users.
- Every new iOS SDK partner now gets a fully accessible SDK. This means, you will be able to use Fleksy in all these new apps! Already, Tweetings 2, GV Connect, and 1Writer have updated to our accessible SDK. Our ambition is for a full system wide accessible keyboard, and new apps are coming online every day. Please tell your favorite apps about us.
Transitioning back to Fleksy:
- The app has been completely overhauled for better user experience for all users and to better compliment Fleksy's increased availability in other apps.
- Type at the bottom part of the screen. Similarly to Fleksy in other apps, typing in the new accessible Fleksy app is registered only in the keyboard area - the same area the system keyboard would occupy. This way, you can still interact with the rest of the app, above the keyboard.
- Support for 10 languages: English, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish. Download yours in Settings.
- Your settings, language and dictionary words will sync across all apps that implement the latest version of our Fleksy SDK. Your Fleksy VO learned words will also carry over automatically.
- Fleksy now uses the default iOS share menu for sharing your text, located at the top right.
- Swipe left and hold has been temporarily disabled as we resolve some bugs around it.
- Swipe up with two fingers currently does nothing. Tap at the top part of the screen to reach menu items.
- Familiar features may be missing. Fleksy has seen a lot of changes in the past 6 months. Expanding to a broader audience and more apps has allowed us to re-evaluate all features and focus on the ones that compliment Fleksy in its current state best. Do you miss a feature? Others might be too, so post a new idea in our feedback forums.
We know there are still a few rough edges and bugs in today’s app, which we will fix with updates. But we couldn’t wait to make it available to you nonetheless. Please let us know if you find things we missed in our mad rush to launch this as quickly as we could.
We won’t immediately retire the Fleksy VO app, just to be sure we have a smooth transition. But you can go back to the main Fleksy app with immediate effect.
And a final thought:
We know separating the two apps caused anger and frustration to many in our early community. We have worked really hard to restore this trust, not with words, but with actions.
We are truly hoping that today we can turn a page and count on the support of the VoiceOver community to bring Fleksy, a technology we invented, to more apps, more devices, and more users. It won’t be possible to work so hard, and for such an ambitious goal, without the support of the visually impaired community behind us.
Thank you, and Happy Typing
- Ioannis Verdelis, Co-Founder