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The keyboard menu

Quite often, designers work on a design for something they’re unlikely to use themselves. This is a situation I’ve found myself in the past few weeks, designing a new keyboard menu for Ubuntu.

This menu will replace both the keyboard layout toggle from Ubuntu’s doomed notification area, and the IBus menu for choosing a keyboard input method. I use just one keyboard layout myself, but switching layouts is important for millions of multilingual users. And input methods are important for typing characters in languages that have hundreds or thousands of characters, such as Chinese and Korean.

Keyboard layouts and input methods are highly related things, so showing them in the same menu is long overdue. It would be great if we could also merge the Keyboard Preferences window with the IBus Preferences window; Canonical engineers don’t have time for that in the near future, but I’d be happy to work on a design with anyone who is interested.

At UDS earlier this month we discussed the new menu. We’d also like your feedback on the full specification, especially if you use input methods or multiple keyboard layouts.

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