“faster umlaute”

Improving the typing speed of additional characters on macOS

iOS behavior on macOS

For typing additional characters on a mechanical keyboard you normally had to type a modifier key first (e.g. ´). Then you'd select the base-character that should "go underneath". Since the modifier keys now are mostly hidden, it can be hard for new users to understand and learn.

MacOS adopted the concept of typing of additional characters from iOS. The user presses the base-character first (e.g. e) and waits for a timeout to trigger. A tooltip will appear showing all possible character alternatives.

While this a great and learnable flow, where the mental model is that the base-character goes first, the timeout makes it impossible to integrate that flow into a faster way of typing.

Idea: Creating a shortcut…

What if selecting the alternative could be brought closer to pressing the base-character? How might we leverage the advantages of a physical keyboard?

Instead of waiting until the timeout is triggered, macOS should allow a shortcut consisting of base-character and modifier.

This would allow power users to learn base-character + modifier pairs for frequently used alternative characters over time and therefore increase the typing speed.

Give it a try!

In the following textbox, it is possible to type the base-character and a modifier key at the same time. Shortcutting the timeout that you'd normally have to wait for.

Yes, the sometimes needed finger-yoga is not ideal and if your name is Bono, typing U2 might get a bit slower, too.

Try typing words with additional characters and let me know what you think. Might be fun to turn this into a Chrome extension or a macOS helper app.

e.g.: Café, prêt-à-porter, Schwäbisch Gmünd

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
a à á â ä æ ã å ā
c ç ć č
e è é ê ë ė ė ę
i î ï í ī ì ì
l ł
n ñ ń
o ô ò ò ó œ ø õ õ
s ß ś š
u û ü ú ú ū
y ÿ
z ž ź ż

built for a U.S. keyboard layout — project by Nikolas Klein, 08/2018