Young Alum Creates iPad User Experience Improvement

When Daniel Hooper became frustrated with editing text on his iPad, he wrote an application that could revolutionize the way users select and arrange their words on tablets. 

Daniel Hooper, a 2012 graduate of Georgia Tech, developed Hooper Selection.

“I see the iPad as the future of computing, and I think a couple years down the road it will be the only thing most people own,” said Hooper, who earned a bachelor’s degree in computational media from the Institute in May. “Because of that I feel a lot of things need to get better — particularly for me, editing text.”

The so-called “Hooper Selection” uses the keyboard to select, copy and paste text, rather than having the user highlight on the text itself. Hooper demonstrates the method in a YouTube video that has garnered more than 600,000 views and drawn attention from media outlets such as Business Insider, Gizmodo and Engadget. As for the name, Hooper himself can’t take credit. 

“Another developer emailed me saying they had made a Wikipedia page,” he said. “He was concerned so many people were copying the work that I wouldn’t be remembered as the creator. The name is kind of dorky and still sounds weird to me, but it works.”

Hooper, who himself is an iPad and iPhone owner, has been working on iOS development since his freshman year at Tech. Last fall he created a game called Percepto, and Hooper Selection emerged as a project for his digital humanities course last spring.

“It’s sort of a bland thing, text editing, but it’s so key to everything you do. Regardless of the app, you’re probably typing at some point.” 

Regardless of whether Apple implements the idea, Hooper hopes it inspires all companies to put more time and research into this aspect of the tablet user experience. He’s already seen some third-party developers use it in their applications. 

“I put the video out there hoping people would think it was cool and, at the very least, make them unhappy with the current state even if this isn’t the solution. I enjoyed using my prototype so much that I thought, other people probably want this, but it’s something Apple would have to do since it’s kind of a system-level thing.” A modified version of Hooper’s idea by another developer has been made available to those willing to jailbreak their phones, but nothing from Apple has been implemented at this time.

Hooper’s interest in programming stemmed from early days of assembling LEGO MINDSTORMS robotics kits, growing into an interest in video games and eventually user experience design at Tech. He soon departs for a multi-week, post-graduation Eurotrip, but, for the tablet’s safety, will likely leave his iPad behind.