We have an iPad/Android Tablet input form with a single text input box on it.

This is a kiosk app used by tourists and business men.

We have two options

Option 1)

  • Form loads
  • Input box automatically selected, keyboard visible as soon as screen loads.
  • User types in their name
  • They press the "done" button on the keyboard
  • This takes them to the next screen

Option 2)

  • Form loads
  • User taps input box
  • Keyboard appears
  • User types in their name
  • They press the "done" button on the keyboard
  • This takes them to the next screen

Is there any UX thinking around auto-loading the keyboard? Would it cause confusion?

  • When the keyboard is visible would it be covering up any content?
    – JonW
    Commented Nov 4, 2013 at 15:00
  • Not in this design no. Commented Nov 4, 2013 at 17:02
  • Worth noting that the behaviour you're describing is how Windows 8.1 works on the login screen (it automatically gives the password field focus and therefore shows the keyboard when the screen is shown).
    – Kit Grose
    Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 5:00

2 Answers 2


I think showing the keyboard by default causes the customer to pause to think too much...

  • why is the keyboard loaded?
  • what did I click on to load the keyboard?
  • what field will i be typing into if I haven't clicked on anything?
  • this doesn't do this on my iPad at home

If this is occasional use, you don't have much persuasion time to change the normal activity of the keyboard only appearing when a form input box is clicked on. Ironically, this might take the person MORE time to fill in the form once they've made the connection between the highlighted field and the keyboard.

Using the normal action of user initiated keyboard loading means the user is in control. They have controlled the action. Nothing out of the norm has happened in this process. Generally means a happier customer. No challenges.

This doesn't stop you being slick on design or other UX, but in this specific instance, I'd try stick to the expected actions.

Also, as the comment on your question says, if the keyboard hides any other information, you might cause yourself a blocker to continuing straight away.

Hope this helps.

  • Thanks! Pondering it... All sensible except the "this doesn't do this on my iPad at home" conflicts with what I've read about Kiosk design. One paper said we should assume that the user has no prior knowledge of the device/operating system. That said, initiated user editing is almost ubiquitous now. Commented Nov 4, 2013 at 17:04
  • Keeping the user in control and not doing unexpected things on their behalf is a fundamental UX principle, so I agree with Sidetracked. I think automatically focusing on a field is appropriate if you're saving the user time while they're performing repetitive tasks, or if they interact with something and keyboard input is the first subsequent action they will perform. For example, if I pressed a "+" button to add a person to a list, and it revealed a form with fields for a name and email address, I would expect it to automatically focus in the first form field to save me time.
    – Kip
    Commented Nov 4, 2013 at 18:11
  • Yeah, I've read similar things about kiosk design, but I'm not sure I 100% agree with it. I think what they are trying to get at, is to make sure you don't aim your experience at advanced users, or make sure your experience doesn't require an expert knowledge of the system. What I don't agree with is ignoring the fundamentals completely. Keeping the user in control and not creating anything jarring is definitely still high on the list of any experience, kiosk or not. Commented Nov 5, 2013 at 11:34
  • The argument for "keeping the user in control" is a good one. We shall probably AB test this as @GollyJer suggested but I think we'll keep the keyboard down for starters on this basis :) Commented Nov 5, 2013 at 19:20

Standards don't matter if your goal is speed on this extremely simple screen. It seems like the ideal scenario for simple a/b user testing.

Gather timing data for each version. If one is completed significantly faster than the other then you have your answer.

  • Speed and clarity is the goal. AB testing is a good suggestion although was keen to get opinions also. Commented Nov 5, 2013 at 19:15

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