Users use the keyboard primarily to type text. Character keys send a character to the BlackBerry® device. A modifier key alters the functionality of character keys. Modifier keys include the Shift key and the Alt key. When users press a modifier key, a typing mode indicator appears in the upper-right corner of the screen.

On BlackBerry devices with a trackpad only, users can also use the keyboard to move around a screen (for example, to move around a map). However, navigation using the keyboard should always be an alternative to navigation using the trackpad.

On BlackBerry devices with a trackpad and a touch screen, a virtual keyboard appears when the slider is closed and users need to type text. Users can hide the virtual keyboard by opening the slider or touching and moving the keyboard off the screen.

Most BlackBerry devices have either a full keyboard or a reduced keyboard. On BlackBerry devices with a touch screen, the full keyboard always appears in landscape view. In portrait view, users can use the full keyboard or the reduced keyboard.

Best practice: Designing applications for different types of keyboards

  • If you alter the functionality of a key, always return the key to its original state when users close the application.
  • Verify that your application is compatible with both full keyboards and reduced keyboards.
  • Support modifier keys where appropriate.
  • Make sure that users can undo commands easily. Typing can be challenging for new users.
  • Choose an appropriate field based on what you expect users to type. For example, if you expect users to type numbers, use a field that accepts only numbers so that users can type numbers easily. Use the following information to determine which input method to choose.

This image provides information on choosing an appropriate field based on what information you expect users to type.

Related concepts
Next topic: Full keyboard

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