Introducing Zext

What’s your words per minute on your mobile phone, 30 wpm or 50 wpm?

Ok, it does not matter. One more important thing is that how long can you write on your mobile phone? Have your ever try to write something on iPhone for more than 2 hours? If yes, how is your feeling? I can promise that one of your feelings is tiredness. In fact, it is tired on the desktop too for writing that long, but typing on a mobile device is just so distractive, you can’t get focus, no matter what app declared that how distraction free they are. Let me show you a fact that few people noticed, below is a GIF animation of your eye movements while you are typing.

Eye movements when typing text in Notes app.

Your eyes are keep moving around this three area while you are typing:
- The text you are typing.
- The virtual keyboard.
- The predictive bar area.

Oh, poor eyes, I cannot image how long my eyes walked in a single day.

However, this is just the start.

“Your visual attention contains a basic function that puts the dampers on second glances.”
“In particular, the brain doesn’t like to return attention to a place or object it has just left. This phenomenon is called inhibition of return.”
- Hack #38, Mind Hacks: Tips & Tools for Using Your Brain

That is the root cause why you get distraction when you are using mobile phones, especially while writing text which the screen that doesn’t change frequently.[1] It is IOR which make you tired soon after you are writing text on the mobile device. It is IOR make you get angry when you input wrong characters in safari address bar and return to the keyboard to correct it and return back to address bar to see if it is correct.

But, we cannot revert back to physical keyboard now, touch screen had more other advantages on it. So, how can we reduce the burden of eyes and mind while we are writing long text on mobile devices? Please don’t inhibit to move your eyes on next GIF.

Eye movements typing in Zext

This is the new text writing experience for iPhone bring by Zext.

As you can see, while you are typing in Zext, the cursor is stuck above the virtual keyboard, which shrink the area of eyes need focus and reduce the eye movements. You needn’t move your eyes far away to see what is input after you touched the virtual keyboard, and if the word is incorrect, you can quickly select the correct word predicted by keyboard which is just below the word you are typing.(The predictive bar by iPhone keyboard is extremely smart, highly recommend to turn on it) No more eye movements, no more frequently recognition processes, no more IOR drawbacks.

OK, your eyes got a break, what about your fingers? Yes, you saw a fullscreen interface, only one save button, very neat, very distraction free, isn’t it? But where is the toolbar? How to input markdown markup or special characters? How can I revert the changes?

Simplicity is the dominant design philosophy of Zext and it is the only way to productivity. The touch screen is the most important part of the mobile phone(and is the most expensive component too), we had use almost 1/2 of the touch screen for the virtual keyboard, should we waste additional space for tool buttons? Let me show you how Zext fixes this problem.

While you are writing in Zext, you can swipe the screen to left or right to display the edit toolbar, to the right is the markdown markup, to the left, is some frequency used editor functions.

You can even complete edit task use one single gesture action, swipe screen to the right, don’t release finger, move your finger up or down to select the task you want to do and release your finger, and done. Is it very convenience and intuitive? Touch gestures is a native part of modern mobile devices, I think you will soon get to used to it.

This is the new text writing experience bring by Zext. A simple, subtle move which may be the distraction killer on iPhone. But this is not the end, to write more on mobile devices, manage your notes, plan your projects, write a novel, get things done by plain text… we need more. I will show you how Zext is trying to improve the productive in next blog.

Zext, a tranquility text writing and notes app, needs your feedback! Please leave a comment or send an email to Also, you can follow me @zextapp or join the mail list to get informed when Zext is ready.

[1]: I did not spend much time in researching how eye movements effect on Human recognition and attention, especially on mobile devices, and I am very appreciated if you could provide me some to help me confirm it.