What it Takes to Incorporate Touch Screen Technology into Your Product Design…The Basics

As personal touch devices have become commonplace, users now expect touch interactivity in almost all technologies. All product designers should be considering touch screen interaction in their design. Knowing what you need is an important first step in designing a touchscreen product.

Who is your user and what are their needs? It’s important to identify the age range of users, language, location and any additional characteristics like profession, average time on page etc. From here you can better understand how users will utilize the application and therefore design custom touch screens accordingly.

Think about design with touch. Touch screens quite literally place information in the users hands and it’s important that your design matches the users touch workflow. The last thing you want is for your users to feel like they need to “figure out” how to use your application. To prevent this, you’ll want to focus keeping navigation elements simple, clean and consistent.

Consider trigger elements to optimize usability such as large fingers to reduce errors and spacing elements far enough apart to avoid them accidentally being pressed. Hands can literally be in the way. The best practice is to position the labeling information on or above these elements (and not underneath them) so that information doesn’t get covered by the hands. Also, since most users are right-handed, consider placing information on the left side (so users can still read it while touching the buttons).

Familiarity will be your friend. Your users are probably well acquainted with many other interfaces that they frequently use. Help users feel more comfortable by creating layouts that are similar to the interfaces with which they are already familiar. Be consistent and use the exact same language, layout, and labeling terms throughout all menu options.

More and more new products are incorporating touchscreens to further enhance the user experience. But to make a touchscreen implementation truly successful, these important considerations need to be taken during the design of the user interface. Touchscreens have become necessary input devices because they are intuitive and easy to use. Incorporating basic touchscreen usability features into the interface design will greatly improve user engagement and satisfaction.

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