On-screen keyboard in Survey123 app

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02-12-2021 10:03 AM
Shannon_Ehlers
New Contributor

Hello, Is there anyway to pin or lock the on-screen keyboard in one place in a Survey123 form in the field app? Rather than the keyboard popping up every time a field is selected, the keyboard is part of the form. If unable within Survey123, does anyone have an app suggestion for a on-screen keyboard that can be locked on the screen. Thank-you!

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Philip-Wilson
Esri Notable Contributor

Hi @Shannon_Ehlers,

This is not currently possible with iOS or Android and the Survey123 field app. Like many other apps, the keyboard is controlled by the OS, so when an input field is selected that requires user input, the keyboard will appear, otherwise the OS will automatically hide the keyboard.

The problem with always showing the keyboard in the app, regardless of the input questions, would be that if you had a survey that had no input questions (such as geopoint, select one, select mulitple, rank, range, image, audio etc) then you would always see the keyboard and it would take up half the screen real estate, which on smaller devices would be an issue.

Regards,

Phil.

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Philip-Wilson
Esri Notable Contributor

Hi @FredMitchell,

Thanks for providing the screen recording and XLSForm, this is very helpful. What you are seeing is not new to iOS15 or the latest Survey123 3.13 release. This behaviour of the keyboard has always occured with iOS. Actually it also occurs on all other OS, but may be less obvious depending on how the on-screen keyboard works.

The reason for this issue is due to change of focus in the application, in this case a change not occuring. As you can see from the "flashing cursor" below, even when selecting the radio buttons in the select one question, the focus of the cursor is still in the text box, meaning the OS will think the keyboard should still be open. In the case of Survey123, the radio buttons (select one questions) do not cause the focus to change, so the OS keeps the keyboard open.

To close the keyboard you can simply swipe down over the keyboard, and it will close, if you are on in iPad or other OS (Android, Windows devices) there is normally a button on the on-screen keyboard with a down arrow/close option, to close the keyboard when not needed. On iPhones, the keyboard is smaller and doesn't have this button, so you can just swipe down over it.

2021-10-22_11-49-05.gif

Regards,

Phil.

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9 Replies
Philip-Wilson
Esri Notable Contributor

Hi @Shannon_Ehlers,

This is not currently possible with iOS or Android and the Survey123 field app. Like many other apps, the keyboard is controlled by the OS, so when an input field is selected that requires user input, the keyboard will appear, otherwise the OS will automatically hide the keyboard.

The problem with always showing the keyboard in the app, regardless of the input questions, would be that if you had a survey that had no input questions (such as geopoint, select one, select mulitple, rank, range, image, audio etc) then you would always see the keyboard and it would take up half the screen real estate, which on smaller devices would be an issue.

Regards,

Phil.

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Shannon_Ehlers
New Contributor

Thank-you for your answer. I realize it is not a utility that would be used by many especially those using Survey123 in a smaller format. I will say that in the case of conducting a timed survey (i.e. avian point count), I find it very distracting that the keyboard appears and disappears and essentially rearranges the rest of the form as I navigate from one field to the next. I also recognize that this would be a difficult feature to offer as the onscreen keyboard is dictated by the OS. I am just trying to make my forms as user-friendly to my non-digital friendly technicians as possible. Again, thank-you for your answer.

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FredMitchell
New Contributor III

@Philip-Wilson I have the opposite problem of the keyboard not disappearing on an iPhone 13 Pro running iOS 15.0.2. When the user is typing in a multiline comment field and then the go to the next field, despite clicking on radio buttons or checkboxes the keyboard still stays on-screen. The only way to get rid of it is to exit the survey and then hit continue survey. Is this a bug? Thanks!

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Philip-Wilson
Esri Notable Contributor

Hi @FredMitchell,

Thanks for reporting this, it could be related to the latest iOS 15 update. We have not been able to reproduce this internally with our testing, so woudl require more information. Can you provide a screen recording of the issue.

Also, are you able to share your XLSForm (and media folder) so we can take a look with your specific form, as it could be related to the type of questions and order of them. If you do not want to share here, you can send me private message.

Regards,

Phil.

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FredMitchell
New Contributor III

Hi @Philip-Wilson,

Thanks for your quick reply! I've attached a screen recording and my XLS forms to this post. The media folders are both empty. For context, I am using two forms with one hosted feature service. Residents submit a request via the first form in the web browser and inspectors follow-up with the second form in the Survey123 app. Thanks for looking into this and please let me know if you need anything else from me or if you have any questions!

Respectfully,

Fred

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Philip-Wilson
Esri Notable Contributor

Hi @FredMitchell,

Thanks for providing the screen recording and XLSForm, this is very helpful. What you are seeing is not new to iOS15 or the latest Survey123 3.13 release. This behaviour of the keyboard has always occured with iOS. Actually it also occurs on all other OS, but may be less obvious depending on how the on-screen keyboard works.

The reason for this issue is due to change of focus in the application, in this case a change not occuring. As you can see from the "flashing cursor" below, even when selecting the radio buttons in the select one question, the focus of the cursor is still in the text box, meaning the OS will think the keyboard should still be open. In the case of Survey123, the radio buttons (select one questions) do not cause the focus to change, so the OS keeps the keyboard open.

To close the keyboard you can simply swipe down over the keyboard, and it will close, if you are on in iPad or other OS (Android, Windows devices) there is normally a button on the on-screen keyboard with a down arrow/close option, to close the keyboard when not needed. On iPhones, the keyboard is smaller and doesn't have this button, so you can just swipe down over it.

2021-10-22_11-49-05.gif

Regards,

Phil.

FredMitchell
New Contributor III

Hi @Philip-Wilson,

Thanks so much for your thorough response and explanation of the functionality of iOS and mobile OS in general. I am new to developing in this space so I really appreciate understanding how this works.

I had no idea that to close the keyboard on an iPhone you could simply swipe down over it. I have seen the icon you mention in the on-screen keyboard with the down arrow/close option on iPad and other platforms.

Do you think it would be reasonable from a UI/UX perspective to request an enhancement for Survey123 so that other non-text fields like radio, checkbox, etc., would cause the focus to change if the previous field is a text field resulting in the OS automatically closing the keyboard?

Regardless of the outcome of this feature being included in future releases of Survey123 I really appreciate the time you took to explain the focus function in relationship to Survey123 on mobile OS platforms.

Respectfully,

Fred

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Philip-Wilson
Esri Notable Contributor

Hi @FredMitchell,

Yes, I think it is a good idea to submit an enhancement with Esri support to support change of focus for non-input question types (select one, image, file, audio, date, date/time etc). 

I had a look through our internal repo and backlog issues, and we do not have a similar request raised by any customers. We do have some similar issues, but not exactly what you are asking.

This bug was the closest one I could find - BUG-000127506, which is the same cause, but the bug was raised due to the Tab key not changing focus into the select one question. This is slightly different to your issue, but the fix would fix both of these.

https://support.esri.com/en/bugs/nimbus/QlVHLTAwMDEyNzUwNg==

Regards,

Phil.

FredMitchell
New Contributor III

Hi @Philip-Wilson,

I've logged an enhancement with support under ENH-000143978. Thanks again for all your support on this!

Respectfully,

Fred