It’s hard to believe that the earliest touch screens were being developed during the early 1970s, and multi-touch technology was in development as early as 1982, however nothing has brought touch technology to the masses like the introduction of the iPhone by Apple in the summer of 2007. This was even further enhanced with the introduction of the iPad in 2010. Previously, you would see touch screen technology primarily used in ATMs and some POS systems, but now, according to some projections, nearly 20% of the U.S. population will own an iPhone in 2014.
Apple is not the only player in town, as Android based tablets and Smartphones have about an equal market share, so we have a huge chunk of the population walking around with multi-touch interactive devices in their pockets at all times. This has completely changed people’s expectations as to how they get delivery of digital content, and gone are the days of single touch, as gestures like pinch to zoom, and swipe are the new norm.
While large format touch monitors have been around for a while now, the emergence of personal touch devices has led to an increased demand for touch enabled devices in public places. Whether it is a building directory, a museum exhibit, a kiosk in the mall, an alumni wall in a university, or an ordering station at a quick serve restaurant, the expectation for touch enabled devices is there. I remember a recent stay at a hotel where in the lobby there was a large format monitor in a floor mounted kiosk displaying information about the hotel and local area. They had to put a physical sign underneath the display stating “This is not a Touchscreen” in order to curb visitor’s natural tendency to try and interact with the display. Even with that, there were fingerprints all over the screen.
Now it’s one thing to create simple static content for looping and scheduled playback systems, as images can be created, edited and shared, and even simple tools like PowerPoint can be used to create digital signage content, however when it comes to touch interactive content this is not the case. More advanced software tools or programming are required in this case as well as careful planning and layout as to the storyboard of your touch project. Not only does the content need to be visually engaging, but it also needs to be intuitive to the user that is interacting with the screen. For this reason, partnering with content creators such as Almo Content Creation Services will be valuable to integrators of touch technology.
I look forward to the advancements we will see over the next five years!