We have a web app for brain injured stroke survivors to teach them typing.

We are able (with some effort :) make the onscreen keyboard appear. But sometimes it goes away when they touch the Enter button on the keyboard. (Our developer has some logic to detect browser size change to detect the appearance/disappearance of the Onscreen keyboard, but obviously, this isn't foolproof.

It seems like the most elegant solution is, after maybe 5 seconds or so, to show some graphic to encourage them to touch the textbox.

A secondary (much less important) benefit is that if they don't type for 5 seconds (even if they have an external keyboard) this would indicate they should type.

I am also considering making the icon blink several times after another 5 seconds (so a total of 10 seconds without typing).

  1. How does this seem?
  2. Any better suggestions?

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  • Is the onscreen keyboard for a touchscreen?
    – Confused
    Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 8:41
  • Yes. ipad, etc. Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 15:29

1 Answer 1


First of all—sorry for correcting—but what you're looking for is a signifier, not an affordance. An affordance is a "relationship" a user can have with an object, a signifier is the "signal". So, what you need in my mind is a CTA (call to action). Instead of thinking of this in terms of on-screen keyboard and when they appear and whatnot is to forget all about that and come up with a strong CTA.

I don't know how the UI behaves exactly but I'm guessing they're supposed to type in the name of the animal, object, etc. shown.

Why not simply show a field-like input area with a CTA like "type the name of the animal". That's a strong signifier and would ask the user to touch the screen which would make the keyboard appear.

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