Sue Kent checks out the pros and cons of swype texting for people with dexterity and other issues who want to use touchscreen smartphones.
Three years ago, I started a Facebook group called Gadgets To Make Life Easier, Disabling Disability. It's for people all over the world to share the gadgets they use and to ask other members for any help they might need.
Technology has enabled this sharing and educating, but some communication methods have provided a challenge for those with dexterity problems, damaged or unusually arranged arms and hands.
A member of our group alerted me to the joys of swype texting. It's a relatively new concept in screen keyboard use and by applying one finger or a stylus to input each letter of a word in a continues sweep, you can input words quickly and easily.
One App provider claims a speed of more than 40 words a minute, but I have not managed this yet.
Having eight inch arms and seven fingers, holding and texting can be difficult, tedious and time-consuming; my texts are short and often misinterpreted as rude.
I have an HTC Android phone and downloaded an app from SlideIT, with swype text and talk to text. I can use it with my finger or a stylus, or I can use my toes or my mouth with a stylus.
In addition, the talk to text option is marvellous; to use it, I need to be connected to the internet and in a quiet place. I talk a few words at a time into the phone and the text is written out. The results are impressively accurate and it has made texting so much quicker and easier.
As an additional benefit, the muscle actions involved in using swype texting do not lead to shoulder pain as traditional texting does.
There are various applications to download for swype texting. If you have a Samsung phone, you will already have an application. But swype texting is not supported by Apple or Windows phones at present.
I downloaded some swype apps on my iPad 2, but apparently Apple policy does not allow you to replace the default keyboard on the iPhone or iPad and without application integration, the swype keyboard was useless.
The Apps do take up quite a bit of memory, but for me the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. I would advise choosing an app with a microphone option for talk to text.