Wednesday, July 4, 2018

a piece on the problem with touchscreens

Amber Case on The Hidden Cost of Touchscreens.

Kottke quoted a good passage:
Touchscreen design could benefit from some basic design principles. Color-based interfaces take less time to parse when they are glanced at. Image-based interfaces take longer for the brain to process, and the lack of contrast can be confusing, because each item must be distinguished from adjacent items. When so many images look alike, service workers must rely on position and muscle memory for speedy use. 
When I worked in food service and in the mailroom, the uglier touchscreens were always easier to work with. They were color coded with bright, contrasting colors, making the boundaries between numbers or items very obvious. I found that the colors reduced mistakes. I’d usually tap the right items after barely even glancing at the interface. After a while, I’d only check the screen for mistakes at the end of the process, before submitting an order or printing a receipt.
 Fun stuff, especially how Apple seems hell bent on some day getting to its vision of a perfect slab of glass. I always have pipe dreams that sameday we'd have some kind of clear plastick-y substance that could raise up virtual buttons on our fondle slab phones...

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