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To give an example - in stock Android when I click on New Contact, the focus(cursor) is on the Name field and one needs to tap on the field to open the keypad.

VS

In some Android devices, when I click on New Contact the keypad is already opened.

Its purely an experience call.

Which one is better? Why Android provides default of not opening the keypad until one taps.

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Well it all depends upon UX designer's call. In my opinion if page has only input field(s) then keypad should open automatically as it's oblivious that user will fill information now. So in order to minimize the number of taps on any UI, keypad should open automatically as the screen loads. You can see this working on various online mobile recharge apps. Where on single screen user need to fill only mobile number. Thanks.

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Google's Material Design documents only mentions following:

Touching a text field places the cursor and automatically displays the keyboard.

Text fields - Components - Google Design Guidelines

Same is said in API Guide for Android developers. Neither mentions the reason why to show keyboard only after the user have tapped the text field.

Going on a hunch, I think has something to do with limited screen estate. You wouldn't want to block the user from seeing if there something to see on the lower portion of the screen.

And to why some apps show the keyboard and others don't, I don't know, especially if they are alike. It might be that designers of another app think there is something worth to see at a glance and the others that there isn't based on their intuition and/or user testing.

  • Even I thought on similar lines that its a creative call and not really a scientific one. – Anirudh Jan 22 '15 at 4:51
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Consistency is key here. You wouldn't want to confuse your users by sometimes showing the keyboard and at other times not.

I'd go for not showing it immediately as this gives you the benefit of more screen estate, which could very well contain crucial info (both about the field and in general).

On a side note, when focused on field, you could provide a TAB/NEXT key to skip to the next field (if that is possible of course).

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In my opinion the keyboard should be opened. Why have an extra click if the obvious action is that click? Users should be able to perform their actions as quick as possible.

But of course consistency is important as well (as stated by VinceCgto). So if you do it on one view you should do it everywhere.

See for example the KeyStroke Level Model how certain choices have impact on user experiance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystroke-level_model

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In this case, the intention to add a contact has already been signalled, and the next logical step would be entering text. I feel the 'stock' approach is best here, have the name field focussed, and the keyboard should be opened up. As Mahijeet says, it is obvious that the user will fill in information.

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