The challenge with touchscreens

I love public touchscreen applications that help me dop things quickly or get me information I need … NOW!

Whoever came up with airport check-in kiosks should be canonized.

And I think touchscreens can be a great application for things like wayfinding, as you can pack a lot more information into an interactive screen than you can a backlit printed poster in a shopping mall. The challenge is that just throwing technology at something doesn’t make it good.

Witness the experience of this blogger who writes about human interaction with technology. She has an interest in finding good examples of things like touchscreens, but more often finds stuff that is confusing or doesn’t work.

Her most recent post includes YouTube videos of her efforts to get the screens to do as they should at a new shopping complex in suburban Charlotte, N.C.

The screen design appears lovely, but only some of the hyperlinks seem to work, the navigation elements are too small, and on and on.

In other words, if you are going to do touch, REALLY think it through and don’t hand the navigation off to graphic artists who think the finger is a mouse and that people will surf this like a Web page.

I actually think a lot of these directories are better served by some color-coded buttons off to the side, on the bezel. People know how to press them and there’s no mystery about how big the touch zone is or single versus double-taps, and so on.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Gear, Opinion

4 Comments on “The challenge with touchscreens”

  1. Ed Says:

    The Touchscreen appears to be slightly out of calibration. I also notice that they depress the screen sensor with multiple fingers which can confuse the touchscreen controller depending on the touch technology.

    More than 25 years ago there were standards setup for graphical user interfaces that were used on the plant floor. Operator Interface or Human Machine Interface (HMI) was critical as you did not want operators to open control valves or turn on a pump by mistake. Most of these systems used IR touch technology that consisted of well thought out design and color schemes. Its unfortunate that badly executed interfaces still exist when they need not to.


  2. Hi,
    I’m the person behind the camera- I couldn’t get the links to activate with one touch of the finger, so I tried various approaches. The screen was probably confused.

  3. PhilG Says:

    Talking about wayfinding touchscreens apps, if any of you have useful comments on this mock-up for a shopping mall project, let me know. Unfortunately, the mock-ups are french only, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to understand. It’s a very simple interface along with a videophone help request feature. (not really available on a mockup)

    http://blog.hatem.ca/laurier/

    thanks !


  4. […] belonging to Switzerland’s largest retailers (Coop, Migros, Manor & Carrefour).       The challenge with touchscreens   Las Vegas / Integrating CampaignManager Digital Signage Software with Queue Management Systems […]


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