Six months after creating a N’ko keyboard for the iPhone, we’ve just launched a new N’ko keyboard app for all mobile devices using the Android platform. The key layout is approved by our advisors in the Manding-speaking community, just as it was for our iPhone keyboard.
N’ko is the writing system used for the Manding language of West Africa, a language community of around 40 million people. The dialects of Manding are Bambara (Mali), Mandinka (The Gambia), Maninka (Guinea) and Djoula (Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso). The N’ko script has some similarities to Arabic in its right-to-left reading direction and its connected letters.
A special feature in this app is the ability to switch between the N’ko script and the Latin script with the swipe of a finger. You can see how this works here. The idea for this came out of input from users who wish to move quickly between N’ko and French (or English) in their communications. Long-press functions provide easy access to tone markers in N’ko and Latin diacritics. An update with a predictive dictionary is in development and will be published in the weeks ahead.
It was obvious to us that the other N’ko keyboards currently available for Android had been created quickly and carelessly. That’s why we took the time and effort to create a keyboard that is a particularly useful tool of communication and productivity. Whether it’s apps or fonts, we’ll do the research, create the strategies and get the consultation necessary to designing the best work that we can.