Monday, January 19, 2009
Touch Screen Interaction in Public Spaces: Room for Improvement if "Every Surface is to be a Computer"!
With Win7's "multi-touch" capabilities, Bill Gate's statement that every surface will be a computer might come true, but from what I can see, we have a long way to go before we get it right!
One of the concerns I have about "touch" screen interaction in public spaces is that not much thought is given to the environmental factors surrounding the system. The system that is tested for the first time after installation might work just fine, but not when it is put to use under a variety of conditions or situations.
EXAMPLES (I've recycled a few of these from previous posts.)
Below is a shot of my husband, trying to see what is on the screen. This photo shows exactly what the screen looked like at the time:
The next picture tells it all. You can see that there is some sort of alphabet on the right side of the screen, but the reflection of my husband is easier to see. We couldn't figure this one out.
The following clip demonstrates how environmental concerns, such as wind and "sideways" rain, can make an interactive display at a shopping center difficult to use. During this clip, you can hear me muttering about the difficulties I had interacting with the information on the touch-screen display. It is possible that the system wasn't working well because of the exposure to the elements.
In my opinion, an interactive wayfinding application should run on a larger display and support two or more people, since many hospital visitors often run in pairs or small groups.