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Windows XP Media Center Edition SDK Using the Triple-tap/Soft-keyboard Control 

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Using the Triple-tap/Soft-keyboard Control

Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and later includes an ActiveX control that developers of Media Center hosted HTML applications can use to get text input from the user. The Microsoft Triple-tap/Soft-keyboard control provides a standard, easy-to-use interface that enables the user to enter text by using a TV remote control. For a variety of reasons, Microsoft encourages you to use the control's triple-tap mode in your applications instead of the soft keyboard mode.

In Media Center, the user typically interacts with HTML applications by using a remote control instead of a keyboard and mouse. Because a remote control contains a limited set of buttons with no letter characters, an HTML application must provide additional functionality to enable the user to enter text with the remote control. Providing this functionality typically involves incorporating either a "triple-tap" or "soft keyboard" model into your application.

In the triple-tap model, the user enters letters by pressing number keys multiple times. In the soft keyboard model, an application presents an image of a keyboard on the screen, with the user navigating to each letter and pressing the OK button.

To help standardize the text entry experience for the Media Center user, Microsoft has developed an ActiveX control called the Triple-tap/Soft-keyboard control that HTML applications should use to get text input from the user. The control supports both triple-tap and soft keyboard modes of operation. However, as a result of usability testing, Microsoft recommends that you use the triple-tap mode in your HTML applications instead of the soft keyboard mode, for the following reasons.

  • Most people are already familiar with triple-tap mode because it is similar to entering text through telephone. Triple-tap text entry is especially familiar to cell phone users, and is an increasingly-popular mode of communication throughout the world.
  • Spelling a word in triple-tap mode requires far fewer key presses than soft keyboard mode.
  • With triple-tap mode, the user can memorize the text-entry pattern of familiar words such as their user name.

Because Media Center itself uses the triple-tap mode everywhere that text input is required, Microsoft encourages you to use this mode in your applications as well. Being consistent with the main Media Center experiences has usability benefits for both your application and the user.

Although the control supports both the triple-tap and soft keyboard text-entry models, neither method is entirely convenient for the user. Your HTML application should include text-entry tasks only when necessary.

This section discusses the following topics:

Topic Description
Operating Modes Describes the operating modes supported by the Triple-tap/Soft-keyboard control.
Supporting Multiple Languages Describes how the control supports multiple human languages.
Customizing the User Interface Describes the ways in which HTML applications can customize the control's user interface.

See Also

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