Making long posts on my Android phone drives me crazy.
If I write a long post on my LG Optimus S Android smartphone (rooted with Gingerbread & latest Dolphin HD browser) I run into terrible difficulties. This has been going on for a very long time, since I have been using Chowhound on a smartphone (about 2 years).
Here's what happens when I try to make a post on Chowhound mobile.
I get five lines of text on my phone before the text starts to scroll down and push the top line out of sight, off the top edge of the text entry box.
So, for the purposes of this post, I will define a "long post" as one that extends down below the five lines of the text entry box (six lines or more), and "short post" will be anything less than that (five lines or less)-- i.e. anything that can fit in one text entry box without scrolling text out of sight, off the top of the box.
Short posts can be tricky too, but this is not really Chowhound's fault-- it is more a function of the 1-2 punch of the quirky Swype keyboard and the imprecise Android text placement cursor which is entirely covered by my thumb when I try to place it at a specific point in the text (when I let go it may or may not leave the cursor in the spot where I need to enter text). However, if Chowhound made the entry text bigger, (thereby making it easier for people with big thumbs and small screens to place the text cursor) this would greatly alleviate Android's software shortcomings
As for long posts, this problem takes the short post problems and compounds them. Basically, the only way to make a long post seamlessly is to enter everything perfectly the first time. The window will scroll, you will reach the end of your post, and can submit it. The problem is with Android's quirky text entry (discussed above) editing is inevitable. And once you have to go back and edit something, all hell breaks loose.
In a nutshell, not only do long posts suffer from the dreaded Swype and big thumb/small cursor/no arrow keys syndrome inherent in the Android software. With long posts you have the added frustration that it is impossible to scroll the text you've entered it. The text entry window is very small, and there is no scroll bar on the right side as there is on the full Chowhound site.
Once you've gone below the five line mark, good luck ever getting back to edit lines that have scrolled off the top of the page (see quirky Swype text entry, above). If you try to scroll the text box, it scrolls the entire page. If you're very lucky, and you tap right at the top edge of the page, the cursor may move to a line that has scrolled off the top of the text entry box. More often than not, this does not happen.
Additionally, the quirkiness of the cursor makes it occasionally jump back to random parts of the middle of my paragraph, often stranding me in a no-mans land where I can't scroll back down to the text I was writing to complete my sentence.
Please, Chowtechs, you simply must implement the following:
1) Larger text entry boxes (WAY more than 5 lines)
2) Larger font size while creating posts (a text size selector would be ideal so people with big screens that don't need this function aren't overwhelmed)
3) SCROLL BARS ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF TEXT ENTRY WINDOWS (if nothing else, please for the love of Leff implement this ASAP)
Dear Mr. Taster,
I am replying to your post from my Samsung Galaxy S, to again suggest that you try a different keyboard application. I have suggested SwiftKey since it works so well for me and my short stubby square ended fingers.
One of the nice aspects of this application is the text area seems to scroll under the keyboard area, making it easy with just a finger slide to go to the bottom or middle or even to read more of the OP. The predictive text can be set to "learn" your style, which is nice. Scrolling back is easy and the screen does not jump. A quick touch on the text sets the cursor where you want it. A long touch opens a move able arrow pad that is easy to move.
All in all, I think your experience can change for the better with just a change of keyboard application. And it is faster than trying to get an entire site to build an application for smartphones.
You know something-- I just downloaded SwiftKey 3 (I had gotten it for free back when it was an Amazon free app of the day, but the rapidfire slidey strokes of Swype were too seductive to resist-- I can Swype literally 3 times as fast as I can swiftkey) and I noticed something rather amazing.
The Chowhound text input window now scrolls independently!
I had no idea that this was a function of the keyboard software-- based on my admittedly limited knowledge of programming, it seemed like it would have been an inherent part of the Android OS or the browser, not the keyboard. Guess I was wrong.
I haven't given it much time yet, but I'll play around with it more and check back in.
I have difficulty using my fiancees keyboard sometimes. To make my life easier so posts don't spontaneously disappear halfway through writing, if it will be long I will open notepad, and just type whatever I want there, that way I can't lose it.
Any chance in the interim of opening notepad or whatever android's word processor is and typing in there, and then copying and pasting? I know nothing about android, but just thought I would put it out there until the other things were implemented. It is still a pain, but might be a little easier?
Yeah, it's way too cumbersome. No Chowhound post is so urgent that it can't wait until I get home to use a real PC. I'm really just looking for a way to make entries on the fly, to kill time on the bus, without the undue frustration that a bad user interface generates. Once I have to use a second piece of software to do what Chowhound should do, I'm off to Huffington Post or some other way to kill the time.