Touchscreens are becoming popular with their intutive design and ease of interaction, right from the mobile devices, Electronic Devices, Kiosk’s to ATM everywhere touchscreen has made a presence everywhere.
The current trend is that, Touchscreen’s are replacing keypads and buttons because of their intuitive operation, software flexibility, and space and cost savings. Definitely this change offers many benefits to the consumers and solves many human-device interface problems as well, but unlike a usual interface with buttons or pointers where click event can be identified and tactile feedback can be notified to the user, touchscreen’s does not provides tactile feedback, which creates new usability problems.
This post is to understand the touchscreen gestures and how we can create great user experience for touchscreen’s. Unlike a normal interface, where everything is a click, touchscreen provides many gestures to get involved with a touchscreen device. Some of them are tap, slide, double tap, long press, flick, pinch.
In a normal interface, on click or when the mouse pointer is being navigated towards the button or link which has to be clicked, we can see color change or hover kind of identification to show the user that what they have selected but on tap of a touchsrceen, how will a user identify which button or link has been clicked?,/p>
I personally use an Android Google Phone and many times I faced this problem, where I was suppose to tap/click on a particular link or button and I mistakenly tapped the wrong once, due to the lack of a proper identification. We face such a problem quite frequently, especially with touchscreen devices.
I also noticed couple of touchscreen applications/devices, where I got lost just because I wasn’t aware which gesture to use, as no proper guide was provided. I was suppose to pinch on an image to zoom it and I was trying to tap on it. these are all common problems we face.If we follow, some very basic and important usability guidelines, we can definitely make touchscreen’s user experience at par
Guideline 1: Provide Virtual Keypads
Touchscreens are not well suited for data entry. So provides a virtual keypads for large data entry, for example the application which take feed back from users.
Guideline 2: Provide Clear Navigation
Provide clear and direct navigation to return to the Home and the Main menu.
Guideline 3: Use Familiar Icons
Make use of familiar icons so that the users can associate with them.
Offer simple, meaningful choices on each screen – Touch-screen users expect to perform a task simply and quickly by pointing to obvious choices. If users have to work hard to understand what they can do on each screen, or they are not sure what the choices on the screen mean, they will cancel the process or close the application.
Guideline 4: Make Icons, buttons, links and interfaces easily clickable
In a designs for touch screen interface, UI elements used for interaction must be large enough for users to easily select with their thumbs. if UI elements is very small then user may feel inconvenience in using the application.
Guideline 5: Position and space items systematically
keep small items far enough apart so that they are as easy as possible to select accurately. If people cannot easily touch the objects they want to interact with, they will be frustrated and will not use the application. Every touchable item must be easy to activate on the first try.
Guideline 6: Provide meaningful feedback and guide
Offer simple, meaningful choices on each screen – Touch-screen users expect to perform a task simply and quickly by pointing to obvious choices. If users have to work hard to understand what they can do on each screen, or they are not sure what the choices on the screen mean, they will cancel the process or close the application..
Guideline 7: Maintain consistency and provide clear indications
Rollover’s and other similar elements are not really useful as a means of denoting interactive elements as they are usually going to be obscured by the finger or hand. If rollovers are to be used, they should change only when the finger is lifted. Instead, buttons should be clearly labelled and visually consistent throughout the application