- Native Innovation Navajo Keyboard on the Google Play Store
- Native Innovation Navajo Keyboard on iOS App Store
- Tse Si'ani Studios Navajo keyboard on the play store, seems to be rather fleshed out
The two mobile keyboards appear to take different approaches in their keyboard design. The first, Native Innovation's, appears to utilize an extra row on top of the standard keyboard layout, presumably the number bar, wherein it contains many characters frequently used in Navajo. These include different vowels with vowels with nasal and high tone and some with both. It relegates the numbers, as well as the symbols usually on the number row, to alternate presses of standard letters. On the standard keys, there are also keys with high tone vowels, as well as a letter not present on the English keyboard, ł. The second, Tse Si'ani Studios's Navajo keyboard, also utilizes the number row; however, it makes much greater use of alternate presses, even going up to the third level for some vowels with high tone/nasal combinations. In doing this, it appears that it keeps the letter layout of the standard U.S. English keyboard layout unchanged, though removing the symbols usually found on the number row.
The Windows/MAC keyboard takes a completely different approach to the two aforementioned approaches. It retains almost the entire standard U.S. keyboard layout but adds certain keys that add high tone, nasality, and a combination of the two to any vowel. Further, it adds the Spanish ñ, perhaps for loan words or for typing in Spanish, as well as ł.
In designing our keyboard for Navajo, we considered first and foremost with what layouts potential users to this keyboard would be familiar with, as well as what would be most intuitive for learners of this layout. In the end, we settled upon a modified version of the LanguageGeek Navajo keyboard. In modifying the keyboard, we removed the potential redundancy of two high tone markers and two separate left and right quote keys. We then placed the high tone marker closer to other tone and nasal markers, creating an easier learning experience for the user since all tone and nasality markers are in one place. Doing this also allows for the question mark to be brought down from a second-level keypress to a first-level keypress, improving typing speed. Further, since the two quotation mark keys were simplified to a second-level keypress of the apostrophe, we were then able to place Navajo's own quotation mark system where those were, making their position much more memorable and convenient than the number bar. We were able to place ł adjacent to the English l, allowing for an easier learning experience, as well as the Spanish ñ as higher-level keypresses of the English n for loan words or possible commonly used words of Spanish origin. This feature is available in the LanguageGeek keyboard as well.
In designing the IPA keyboard for Navajo, we tried to maximize its learnability and its speed by placing most of the sounds as close to their corresponding latin letter in Navajo's orthography on the keyboard as possible. While doing so, we were also able to keep the new features from the LanguageGeek keyboard as well as our keyboard, namely, the position of ł. This allows the user to simply type where the letter that they see would normally be on the keyboard and type the corresponding IPA value. There are some letters for which this was not possible, as spacing did not allow for it. This is because, in order to speed up the typing experience, we separated vowels into both low tone and high tone pairs, the low tone pair occurring at the letter's standard position and the high tine occurring directly adjacent. Nasal vowels, both their sheerly nasal and nasal + high tone pairs, occur along the number line in a similar fashion. We have also included the IPA characters [ç] and [u] because according to some resources, these may occur in Navajo, the latter among phonological conservative speakers.
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