At WWDC ’14, when Apple announced third-party keyboard support in iOS 8, it caught us all off guard. Unfortunately, the actual implementation in iOS 8 is pretty disappointing. Keyboards like SwiftKey and Swype work great on Android, but feel too slow and buggy on iOS. Since the release of iOS 8, there have been many third-party keyboard that have been released on the App Store, but the overall experience, even with 8.1.1, is far from ideal. We have been huge fans of work put out by the folks at Taphive. The duo puts as much attention to the overall experience of using the app as they do into its design. TodoMovies, the app that lets you discover, browse and add movies to your ‘To watch’ or ‘Watched’ lists is probably our favourite movie app ever. Today, their newest app has been released on the App Store. Themeboard is by far the most beautiful looking keyboard set out there.
Themeboard has a lot of potential to be great. It aims to be the destination for designers to create amazing looking custom keyboards for iOS. At launch, it comes packed with some really beautiful themes for free, while the others are paid. Themeboard sports an emoji row above the keyboard, which is customisable. I wish more keyboards had this, because switching to another keyboard every time you want to enter an emoji is a waste of time and taps. Themeboard also has a social element. Each theme designer’s profile is linked in the theme description. You can visit said designer’s Dribbble page or Twitter profile right from within Themeboard. Each theme also has a nice little story that describes why certain glyphs were used and the overall inspiration behind the theme. The prediction bar above the keyboard also has some really nice subtle animations, like when you delete characters.
Unfortunately, the overall performance of the keyboard has been disappointing in our testing. Mikhail has been testing the app over the last few weeks, and while the themes look absolutely stunning, the performance is just not enough to get you using it. This is largely due to the bugs that still exist in iOS 8 as well as the fact that Apple has left the implementation of the keyboard logic to the developers.
Themeboard is available for Free on the App Store and is definitely worth a download just to see how beautiful keyboards can be.
(By Mikhail Madnani & Preshit Deorukhkar)