In the modern world of interconnected devices, user interaction has been always one of the crucial part of any application development. Users can interact with the devices in various ways and interaction by exchanging information with the application has become a basic necessity in app development. IMEs plays a pivotal role in enabling user communication across language barriers and device capabilities. Continuing with the previous article, where in this article we will look into the integral role of IMEs in Smart TV development in detail.
What is an IME?
IME is a software component or program that allow the user to enter characters that are not found directly in their input devices. This feature is mainly used for user languages with extensive character set like Chinese, Japanese and Korean. IMEs also allow the user to enter characters that are not physically present in the device. This is almost the same as using a virtual keyboard in mobile and other touch based devices. With IME, the user can extend the character input range from this physical keyboard to virtually any limit.
Origin and development
IMEs came into picture in the early days of computers when the complexity of certain languages became very difficult to incorporate via computer keyboard input. Initially it was developed for east Asian languages and now it has become an essential component in many environments. With the advent for touch based mobile phones and latest Smart TVs, IMEs have become an essential and important component in enabling user interaction in devices with limited screen space and limited input capacity.
How do they work?
IMEs work by converting keystrokes or touch input to complex characters. IMEs show characters based on user language choices and environment. Users pick characters by touching or other device methods. In a Smart TV, the user selects the characters via the TV remote. In the application, the developer can detect this input event and then can decode the character pressed and then can take actions accordingly.
Integral Role in Smart TVs
Smart TVs are devices that have a limited input capacity in terms of the TV remote. With the integration of IMEs in the Smart TV environment, the character input range of the user is virtually limitless. IMEs are displayed near the input components where the user is expected to enter data. The user can then select the characters from the IME and then the application can understand it and take actions accordingly. The user selects the characters in IME via a TV remote or via any other input devices that are attached to the TV. Keyboard inputs from the user to a Smart Tv APP may not require the use of IME since the user can enter characters directly unlike a TV remote.
Integration of IMEs in various devices has huge benefits. The following are some of them
- Multi-lingual user input capacity for any kind of applications. User from any language can use the application and interact with it
- Without IME, languages with large character set, would not have been integrated into the digital domains. The transformation process would have been painful
- Ease of access to the users, where the user does not have strain about entering multi lingual inputs in applications on devices with limited input capabilities.
As related to any other technology, IMEs also come with a set of side effects. The following are some of them
- Despite their use, IMEs face compatibility issues in certain devices with certain operating systems.
- Learning to use them has a learning curve
- Problems with display in certain device platforms where the input characters are not displayed properly
IMEs are one of the bridges that connect cultures in the digital realm. Modern applications are more data-focused. IMEs allow diverse language input from users. They enable seamless, multi-language communication. This facilitates interaction and preserves linguistic diversity. IMEs help input data beyond physical keyboard limits, regardless of the app type. The application can be mobile, smart tv or any other touch input devices. We will take a look at how we can manage IME inputs in Tizen TV application in the next article.