GO Corporation

Pen-based Kanji Character Input

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When I started work at GO Corporation in 1990, I didn't realize it would become the subject of a book, Startup, that documented in an entertaining way the enormous collapse of a venture-backed company.

My job at GO started with localization in the UI group. That was a great group led by Bob Vallone, and included people such as Tony Hoeber, Grace Pariante and Philip Haine.

Eventually, one faction of the company talked everyone else into producing a Japanese version of PenPoint that would help us entice vendors in Japan to produce custom hardware for pen-based computing.

One of the problems was how to handle Japanese characters, both in terms of display, and input. One of my tasks was to come up with ways to extend what GO had done for English in the U.S. to the Japanese language.

I developed the following design which was adopted, and used gestures such as that illustrated to coerce handwritten input into desired kanji characters.

PenPoint 2.0 kanji input design (~1992)

I'm still proud of some of the ideas I generated for UI concepts that could be useful on pen-based or mobile devices. I think some of them could still be put to good use on today's more powerful devices.

Some unusual concepts for kanji input (~1992)