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Touch Screen Interfaces Hit The Mainstream

A New Era?

The way we interact with personal computing devices is defining our preferences as to how we will get in touch with one another, access information; perform research, and basically how we will get things done in a digital world. Judging by the growing popularity of smartphones and tablet computers, people are voting with their fingers when it comes to choosing a favorite input method. Touch screen technology is poised to becoming the dominant aspect of digital interfaces, and web designers and application programmers are reacting accordingly. The era of the mouse-and-keyboard combination may be coming to an end for the World Wide Web.

Touch Friendly Portals

Internet applications for the Apple iOS and Google Android operating systems are already designed with touch screen users in mind, while Windows 8 and Mac OS X Lion promise to strongly focus on tablet users and touch screen interactions. Google has already redesigned its popular Apps and Gmail platforms to better conform to touch screen displays. Publishing giant Hearst recently announced that it intends to optimize all it websites by making them touch-friendly. The first Hearst online property to undergo this treatment will be the home and family staple Good Housekeeping. Giant Internet retailer Amazon has been engaged in a major touch-restyling of its web pages for some time, particularly after it announced the upcoming release of its proprietary tablet.

A Brief History

Although early uses of touch screens can be traced back to the 1970s, when computer engineers working on the Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations (PLATO) project chose to implement a tactile-sensitive plasma display panel, widespread use of touch screen interfaces began with the advent of personal digital assistant(PDA) devices. Touch screens later made a significant splash when they were incorporated into retail Point of Sale (POS) systems and interactive kiosks. The first touch screen kiosks were introduced in the 1990s, but it wasn’t until the first decade of the 21st century that touch screen kiosks would become widely used in libraries, self-service checkout terminals, retail store information centers, public Internet access points, and more.

More Than Just The Interface

The custom-designed interactive kiosks currently in use by major retailers Wal-Mart and Macy’s should serve as an inspirational template for web designers and programmers as to how the World Wide Web should look and feel to the tablet and smartphone users. We aren’t simply “browsing the web” anymore, we are communicating and accomplishing complex Internet-connected tasks online. We enjoy getting things done with just a few touches gestures, but in order to do this the World Wide Web paradigm of interaction must change. Internet visionaries should borrow a page from the interactive kiosks in this regard, and in fact some are already doing so.

Adapt Or Fall Behind

The Boston Globe and the New York Times have paid attention to the growing number of web users who enjoy accessing their news from smartphones, e-readers and tablet computers. These two venerable newspapers feature apps that are enhanced for touch screens. And tech giant Microsoft is getting very serious about the future of touch screen technology. Microsoft’s preview of its Windows 8 operating system makes use of the new Metro graphical user interface, a new form of interaction which is aimed squarely at mobile touch screen users. The new clean and concise Metro look may seem familiar to some users: it is reminiscent of some interactive kiosks.

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  1. Manoj Sharma

    September 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Very good article, i was really looking for this article, many many thanks.

  2. terry

    September 23, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I don’t think I’ll be liking touchscreen over the mouse and keyboard combination.. I mean, you can judge which gives you a lot of work just moving around the page.. when your using the mouse, your can barely move out of the five square-inched area.. besides the cool look when you are using touch screen.. I wouldn’t give credit to it when it comes to a more easy way to move around the screen..

  3. Kayla

    September 23, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Touch screens are getting bigger and bigger… Literally! I never thought they’d make something as big as the iPad. Do you think they’ll make a full size computer monitor in touch screen?

  4. Rosie

    September 23, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    I love touchscreen, it’s so cool!! I got an iPad for my last birthday a few months ago and I can’t put it down. I love reading books on it, playing games, and even doing computer stuff like checking e-mail is way easier than I thought it would be. Bring on the touch screen! The bigger the better 🙂

  5. jorge

    September 25, 2011 at 9:47 am

    When we talk about carry around devices I’ll go for touchscreens, but when it comes to working with it.. I’ll stick to the mouse and keyboard.. 🙂

  6. Meg

    September 25, 2011 at 9:58 am

    And perhaps not too long from now, there’ll be touchscreen computer monitors just like in the movies!

  7. kevin

    September 26, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Touch screen walls.. now that’s something! then they’ll turn it to 3D touch screens!! wow!! 😀 😀

  8. Kiosk

    September 27, 2011 at 11:50 am

    There are so many kiosks available in the market that the people even can’t think about it. The kiosk itself is designed to automatically calculate the compensation, so they will fate after a long term.

  9. joe

    September 28, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Nice kiosk.. customizing products sounds real nice..

  10. Danny

    September 29, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Of course the mouse and keyboard for pc and the controller for consoles are still going to be very important for gamers.

    A few years ago many people were complaining about touch screens, they liked their small qwerty keyboards on their phone, because that was faster.
    But nowadays with the big screen smart phones it is so much easier to write a message really fast. And with swype you are even much more faster than other phones.
    Of course nothing can compete with the good old keyboard, but for phones I would not want to go back to normal buttons.

  11. Pingback: Future Of Touch Screen Technology

  12. Dave Ventura

    February 1, 2012 at 5:08 am

    Truly communication nowadays are done in faster and modern way wherein it is manageable with one’s fingertips. Touchscreen interface devices gives life to all of this, those modern widgets certainly light up life of individuals as things are controllable.

  13. digital kiosks

    May 28, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Your article contains full of good information. This information is really helpful in the new technologies. The development products are becoming more interactive for ease of use. Touch screens are in use these days.

  14. Julian Dimitrov

    July 30, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    It looks really cool, but i am little sceptic, because the default touchscreens a bit of pain …

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