Important notes for this app

Notes for users of this app

This app is for anyone with reduced fine motor controls, assuming they have better control of positioning a mouse pointer than clicking individual keys on a keyboard. Diseases and conditions associated with a loss of fine motor skills include infection, head trauma, multiple sclerosis, stroke, cerebral palsy, Parkinson's, brain tumors, neuropathy, and spinal injuries.

Currently, I have hard-coded the most common phrases and words in English and the keyboard is set up with a US format. Ideally, a friend or family member can create a file of the user's most used words and phrases, although they would have to overwrite the current data in content.js. I will eventually add a file upload option to populate the alphabetical words and common phrases sections.

General Notes:

  • This app is for people who prefer to use a mouse to write because of their motor control difficulties. This app is NOT for tablets or smartphones, though I tried to make it responsive in the event you wanted to show someone the features or have a very small laptop monitor or a large tablet.
  • The text area has a clear button that will delete everything in the text field. Clicking that button opens a popup asking to confirm the deletion. The popup confirmation is in case you clicked the clear button by accident. The text area also has a copy button to copy the contents into your clipboard. You can then paste the text into a document or email program.
  • All buttons have a change in color when you hover over them to know that you are "over the target", so to speak. They also turn orange when you click them.
  • All words are designed to add a space before the word. Conversely, all characters on the keyboard do not add a space, so if you will be typing out a word, use the Spacebar key on the virtual keyboard before typing the word.
  • Clicking an alphabetical word or a phrase from the Common Phrases section automatically closes that menu. After clicking a letter menu, you only have to hover over it to show it again. Click that letter again to stop that behavior.

Alphabetical words:

  • If you click the buttons for each letter of the alphabet, you'll see between 20 to 100+ words. I added the most commonly used words that were 4 letters or greater, though for a few letters the cutoff is 3 letters.
  • Ideally, you want long words that are most often used by the user. The list shouldn’t be so long that you lose time searching for a word that is not in there because you can’t remember a list of 100 words per letter. Shorter is probably better.
  • Depending on the number of words you upload or the size of your monitor, you may not always see the text entered in the text box because the mega menu will block part of the text field. Don’t worry, if you click a word and can’t see the text box - it will be added.

Proper Nouns and Phrases:

Click the Proper Names button at the top to open that section. Click it a second time to close the section. Click the buttons to add that word or phrase to the text area.

Virtual Keyboard and main text area:

Use the keyboard for words that are not in the two sections above or for numbers and symbols. The keys have hover and click changes like the buttons above. There is full functionality for the non-character keys: Backspace, Delete, Tab, Caps, Enter, Shift, and Spacebar.

  • I omitted the Insert key as I find it an annoyance rather than a helpful key. I also moved the Delete key to the main keyboard section.
  • Place your cursor anywhere in the text field to add any of the words or characters, or to use the keys like Delete, Enter, or the arrow keys. You can also insert words or phrases at the location of your cursor.
  • I have the Ctrl and Alt keys disabled as they are not needed for basic email or document writing. I also hid the buttons for arrow up, page up, arrow down, and page down as I don’t think they are needed, though I may add them later.
  • The Home, End, Right, and Left Arrow keys (navigation keys) are functional. However, the Home key takes you to the beginning of the text area, as opposed to the beginning of each line. The End key takes you to the end of the text area instead of the end of each line.
  • I added the navigation keys and number pad to the left of the main keyboard section. The nav keys are close together for ease of use, and the number pad is to make entering multiple numbers easier (phone #'s, addresses, etc.)
  • Both the Caps key and Shift keys will stay highlighted until you click them a second time. All words and letters will be capitalized while the Caps key is on.
  • Hitting the Shift key toggles the 21 double-character keys that are on a standard US keyboard.
  • All words or letters that are the first in the text area, or are the first after you hit enter, or that follow a period, exclamation, or question mark will automatically be capitalized. Use the Caps key for all other capital letters.
  • Tip: I highly recommend that you add the Grammarly Chrome extension to your browser. It will put a red underline under spelling and grammar errors in the text box. Just click the suggested replacement to make the change. Or click 'Dismiss' to remove the red highlighting.

Downloading the app to a desktop or laptop

This app/tool will go away at some point. So download it or lose it! All you need to do is download the files and open index.html to start using the app.

The keyboard and words are for an American English keyboard. I hope to have other language options in the future. If you would like to download the files and start using the app, then follow these steps: Go to my GitHub repository called WriterAssist and click the green code button and select Download ZIP.