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  • Have you ever tried typing something but your phone keeps changing it to something else?

  • This ducking keyboard can be so frustrating!

  • It can seem like autocorrect is working against you instead of helping you.

  • But the iPhone has had autocorrect for over ten years.

  • Why does it still suck?

  • Whether you're on iPhone or Android, using the default keyboard, or a third-party app you deal with autocorrect every single day.

  • Usually, it works great, but sometimes it completely refuses to understand what you typed.

  • To figure out what's happening we have to understand how autocorrect works.

  • When you type something on a phone, there's a lot of work going on in the background.

  • The phone analyzes your input and compares it to stored dictionaries and language models.

  • The phone then tries to correctly interpret the word or phrase you're trying to type.

  • So when you type "fopd" your phone changes it to "food" because "fopd" isn't a word, but it's only one letter away from "food."

  • But not every example is this obvious.

  • The vowels U, I, and O are very close to each other, so a word like put, pit, and pot those, those were real challenges.

  • That's Ken Kocienda, he's one of the people who developed autocorrect for Apple.

  • We spoke with Ken to find out what's happening inside of autocorrect.

  • My job was to come up with a way to make speedy and accurate typing possible on a sheet of glass.

  • The hardest part isn't correcting spelling or grammar, it's interpreting what you meant to say from what you wrote.

  • And autocorrect is actually pretty good at this, but users tend to notice autocorrect only when it makes mistakes.

  • If it does what it's supposed to do 19 times, and then that 20th time it makes a mistake that is either distracting or embarrassing, that one mistake wipes out the positive feelings that people have for the 19 times where it just worked.

  • This is especially obvious when autocorrect leads to unwanted changes.

  • Sometimes it can feel like you're fighting against your keyboard.

  • Mostly people complain about how autocorrect gets in the way of their swearing.

  • The ducking keyboard.

  • The iPhone keyboard will let you swear, it just wants to prevent you from accidentally sending a word that you didn't mean to send.

  • It might seem like you're always wrestling with autocorrect, but you can take control of your dictionary.

  • On iOS go into Settings, General, Keyboard, and then tap "Add Shortcut" or "Text Replacement."

  • Here you can add a new word or a shortcut that fills in a word when you type a few letters.

  • You can Google around to find out how to add words to the various versions of Android or third-party keyboards.

  • So, you might still think autocorrect sucks, but it's actually gotten a lot better since version one, and some developers have introduced new tools like swipe to type to make typing on a smartphone easier.

  • In the future, machine learning might create an autocorrect that's more accurate than ever, but whatever the technology is we can't lose sight of the original goal of autocorrect.

  • The goal that I like to think about for the product is for it to have the software melt away.

  • Autocorrection is not supposed to be glamorous, right?

  • It's just supposed to be useful.

  • Autocorrect is far from perfect, but our messages would look a lot worse without it.

Have you ever tried typing something but your phone keeps changing it to something else?

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Why Does Autocorrect Still Suck?

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    Fibby posted on 2020/01/14
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