User Tips for TouchScreens

 
10 Touch Screen User Tips
 

Ten simple pointers that can make your touch-enabled software application a success:


1. Run application full screen. Remove title and menu bars so your application uses the entire display area available.

2. Use bright background colors (no black).  Reduces glare and hides fingerprints.  Dithering or other patterned backgrounds (for example, the “crumpled paper look”) help the eye focus on the screen instead of reflections.

3. Use a simple point-click interface and large buttons.  Dragging, double-clicks, scroll bars, drop-down menus, multiple windows, can confuse new users. 

4. Turn the cursor off.  A cursor on the screen makes the user think, "How do I get the arrow to do what I want? Remove the cursor, and the user's thinking and actions become direct instead of indirect-thereby unlocking the true power of touchscreens (user will focus on the entire screen  instead of the arrow). 

5. Always give your users visual or audio feedback immediately when screen is touched. Immediate feedback is critical to reassure the user that a touch has registered. Responses can be visual, such as 3-D button effects similar to those found on a standard Windows button. Or you can provide an audio response, such as a "click" or other sound output whenever a user touches the screen.

6.  Make your application fun and fast.  Limit choices to 7  on a screen (use multiple menu levels if needed). Users walk away from sluggish systems. Speedy systems also reduce vandalism.  High resolution graphics slow down the system and may not be necessary. 

7. Make the application intuitive, limit choices and guide the user as much as possible.  Test your application on focus groups. If users pause in confusion-for a moment, you’ve identified a problem. 

8. Digitized speech (via sound card) can talk users through your application.  The human brain can simultaneously process voice while absorbing an image,  there is something almost magical about a user interface that provides voice prompts and touch response.  For  example: “Touch the first letter of the company you are  looking for.” Click. “Now touch OK.” Click... 

9. Make your application part of an attractive package.  Animation and large fonts help attract users to kiosk applications. The actual design of the kiosk cabinet should also be attractive and sturdy.

10. Kiosk Touch Screen Cabinets.  Are you using forced-air ventilation? Put your fan at the top, near the monitor's vents. To minimize the airborne dust from footsteps, keep the intake away from the floor. Keep air from entering around the monitor face. Point your speakers in the direction of your user's ears. Allow for variations in the physical dimensions of monitor models, as they change frequently. The display should also be mounted securely or have a steady base so it feels solid to the touch. Choose a finish that does not show fingerprints—avoid polished stainless steel, chrome, or glossy black paint.