Windows 7 was received well by many, the on-screen keyboard and intelligent suggestions and corrections were among the most popular features on the operating system. Since Windows Phone 8 is now out we decided we should give you a breakdown of the improvements to the keyboard and give a breakdown of predictive technology behind the popular keyboard.
The average person sends 20-30 messages a day on their phones, equating to over 10,000 a year. With that many messages being sent there’s bound to be a few mistakes, thus, “Word Flow”. Windows Phone 8 introduces Word Flow, which is a new and improved version of “Quick Correct” from Windows Phone 7.5. Aiming to prevent time-wasting typos Word Flow enables you to focus on communicating with people without worrying about your spelling and grammar.
Word Flow has been designed to recognise how real people talk to one another. Therefore, the technology incorporates everything from pop culture to slang terms. 2.5 billion English words from sources ranging from the internet to the trusty dictionary were used when creating Word Flow. A carefully selected 600,000 of the most common words and phrases that people use were selected to power Word Flow’s corrections and selections.
All this research and effort that went into designing the Work Flow feature for Windows Phone 8 results in auto-correction skills that are 94% accurate, on average. Word Flow is a student of your writing habits and is constantly evaluating the way you type to enable you to reduce errors and increase the speed of typing.
How was it made?
To avoid appearing on Damn You Autocorrect too frequently, Windows Phone 8 included a large amount of words to enable it to figure out what you are trying to type. It stores data on your device about how frequently real people, on average, use terms and phrases on their mobile phones.The Office team from Microsoft have been researching commonly-used words for more than 20 years to power a similar feature on Word and Outlook. The Windows Phone team paired up with them to create their dictionary of words and phrases to be used on the devices.
Even a “smarter” dictionary, however, doesn’t prevent strange suggestions and unwanted auto-corrections. This happens for two reasons.
First, it’s very important that the dictionary be relevant to what you would type. A dictionary based only on words found in scientific papers and textbooks wouldn’t offer suggestions relevant to everyday conversation (although science teachers across the world would rejoice). For example, if you typed “h” you might see “hydrogen” as the first suggestion.
Second, the likelihood of a word depends on what comes before it. If you type “H-a-p-p-y-b,” “birthday” is much more likely than other common b-words like “be.” Some words are very easy to guess based on the words before it, for example “New York C” is almost always “New York City”
Windows Phone 8 is designed to solve both of these problems by taking into greater account how real people use language on their phones. In the real world, people use slang, nonstandard spelling, and other casual shortcuts. Thus Microsoft needed different dictionaries than what you might find in Microsoft Word.
Microsoft built up this software by using data gathered from us. Remember the little checkbox during phone set up (and in Settings) that talks about helping Microsoft improve text suggestions and build a better product? If you give them permission, they collect anonymous typing data—free of passwords, names, numbers, and other personal info—to help create and test Word Flow.
Take a look at this video below to illustrate the “hit-target” adaptation. Basically, when you type the Windows Phone changes each keys invisible “hit-target”, the touch-sensitive area around each letter, as you type. When your finger touches the hit-target that letter is inserted. Hit-targets are constantly changing size, depending on what word the keyboard thinks you’re trying to type.