Typing text messages on my Android phone is aided a lot by the 3 word suggestions that appear at the top. But it is extremely annoying that as I recognize one that I want and simultaneously finish typing a letter, I reach for the suggested word but it has moved to a different position! Then I have to backspace a bunch of times to undo, for example, 'necessary' to get back to 'new' - which is what I was reaching for.

Why don't the words just 'stick' in place once they appear? Who thought it would be good for them to move around while one is typing?

1 Answer 1


Typing technology jumped forward rapidly in the late 2000's and then never really made much more advancement (we won't count Apple's late advent of 'swype'). At the core, developers are still really bad at predicting what the user wants to do.

In your example, the developer would have to predict what word the user is going to choose. Why would the user be typing in more letters if they see their word pop up? Because that's what users do, and even if the user makes the same mistake every time, developers have yet to start correcting them (they don't want to chance 'correcting' intentional user behavior, and also it's hard).

  • Mainly the "hard" part, if I'm updating the suggestions based on what the user types how would I sometimes not update it because I think the user didn't mean to type.
    – DasBeasto
    Oct 12, 2016 at 18:00
  • The scenario I am talking about is that a word, such as 'new' is presented when I type 'n', then I hit 'e' and the word 'new' moves to a different spot but is still presented. This makes no sense. If it is still a good choice, then leave it there where it was, don't put it in a different spot, because I might be reaching for it! This would of course require a few more lines of code (former programmer here) but isn't that why we have computers? To make things work better at trivial expense? This would be a big improvement and now it has been proposed, so it should be done.
    – user67695
    Oct 13, 2016 at 1:02
  • I totally agree that shifting visual components is, unduly, still a big problem. If I click on something that wasn't there 200ms ago, the event loop might want to at least question whether I intended that action. But in 2017 developers are still creating rigid, difficult-to-update codebases and the problem of rigid-code is arguably getting worse.
    – weezilla
    May 31, 2017 at 20:11

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