Say hello to my new favorite iPhoto add-on: Keyword Assistant. I’ve bitched about iPhoto’s keyword assignment interface in the past, and the fact that it became significantly weirder (although prettier) in iPhoto 5: its biggest problem is that it just doesn’t scale. And considering my (really, really anal) habit of tagging the buggery out of my photos, a useful and keyboard-friendly facelift like Keyboard Assistant is a dream come true.
The premise is simple: a no-bullshit floating window with a text field, into which you type whatever keywords spring to mind about the currently selected photo. Hit Enter and the keyword is assigned to the photo. As an added bonus, and this is great interface thinking, as soon as you’ve hit Enter the old text is selected… allowing you to type right over it in assigning a new one. You can type them one at a time, hitting Enter as you go, or you can comma-delimit them and assign them to the photo all at once. By the same token, you can remove keywords one at a time by typing them in and hitting Option-Enter (the Assign button changes to a Remove button), or wipe the slate clean with Control-Command-Delete. I love it.
If that weren’t enough, the text field auto-completes from your iPhoto keyword corpus or (optionally) from your Address Book as you go. This is ridiculously fast in comparison to the ‘hunt through a gigantic list of checkboxes’ method of old, and much appreciated. Add the (clever) shortcuts to cycle through your photos without taking your fingers off the keyboard, even when working in an edit window, and you have yourself a winner. Ken Ferry, my hat is off to you.