— see our press release here
This release is the effect of almost three years of intensive work of our developers and a huge group of testers of our Live Prototype version. At some points we were working with up to 3000 people all around the world – from movie writers, multilingual translators to prime ministers, using different combinations of all the languages available in 5-TILES. We were getting their feedback, listening to their ideas and suggestions, and sometimes just having long, friendly chats, as 5-TILES seems to attract some of the nicest and most interesting people we have ever met 😉
Surprisingly little has been changed in the main concept of the keyboard – having letters, symbols and commands always available by the combination of slides between five large keys. It appeared to us early on that the main task was to make this concept as user friendly and self explanatory as possible.
It’s a challenging task – 5-TILES is a completely new writing system and it requires learning a new behaviour and interaction with the touch screen.
We have done a lot of research around the letter layout, moving from ENDUW to EABCD (with many other versions in between, which we had to learn and test), just to discover that for many reasons traditional alphabetical order is optimal when considering such factors as user friendliness, intuitiveness and speed of typing. Of course – the previous layout is getting a full support in the new version!
Similar amount of work was done around on-boarding process, tutorials, learning mode and cheat sheets. Each of the new ideas was tested internally first, then by the limited group of power users and if it made it that far, the final test was always our Live Prototype, which was openly available on the Play Store.
This year our team was joined by mobile industry legend – Christian Lindholm, creator of Nokia’s Navi-Key interface, probably the most popular phone interface in the world. His expertise helped us to shape the latest version of the product, which we now proudly present here: (link).
Back in 2011 we decided to use a freemium model – with free version of the app having limited functionality and the full paid version. It seemed like a good solution at that time and the most popular model, with some of other keyboard manufacturers charging up to £5 for their products. We were charging a modest £1.99.
As most of the apps in this field are now moving to free model, we have decided to make the same transition. We decided that the current paid customers will receive the whole amount back as a credit towards in-app purchases, which we will be offering in the near future.
We were planning to make this transition over the last week of September, following announcements and a press release, but it was all rushed by an unique opportunity – on September 14, 5-TILES was covered by BBC Click. With such a high visibility, we decided to launch the new Beta earlier and go free on the day of the airing.
We are now thrilled to see the positive response to the new version and to welcome thousands of new users in just few hours after the show!