Touchscreen interfaces are everywhere today, from smartphones and tablets to modern PCs. Here is a guide to getting the most out of a tactile device. You will learn about the advantages of this intuitive input method and how it has changed modern technology for the better.
Touchscreen technology has been around in various guises for many decades, although it is only in the past few years that it has really matured and made an impact on the mainstream.
The fluidity and intuitive nature of touchscreen PC devices has only really been made possible with the introduction of capacitive displays, since these respond to the presence of human flesh rather than the physical pressure of a separate stylus.
Touchscreen displays come in all shapes and sizes, sometimes integrated into an all-in-one device, in other instances as a stand-alone peripheral which brings tactile interactivity to computers which did not previously support this.
Of course the hardware is only half the story, because the way this is applied to the software interface of a PC is where things really get interesting.
With a touchscreen onboard it is possible for operating system programmers and software designers to offer users a variety of new ways to engage with programs.
Using a mouse and keyboard is still possible and indeed necessary in most cases, particularly when it comes to actually typing, but for everything else a touchscreen can make PC control much less hassle.
For example, with Microsoft’s Windows 8 there is a whole new Start Screen dedicated to regularly and recently used applications, each of which is assigned to its own tile. Users can tap on tiles to launch apps and services, or swipe around the homescreen to find the shortcuts they want to access.
Tapping to interact is just one aspect of the touchscreen user arsenal. Things like pinch to zoom are becoming much more widely implemented, allowing you to control media files, documents, websites and a variety of other apps with this simple gesture.
The point of touchscreen displays for PCs and tablets is that they allow the user to engage with content and applications in a far more natural way than other input methods.
There should be a very shallow learning curve for first time users to overcome, while in the best cases it should be possible for a newcomer to pick up a touchscreen device and instinctively understand how to interact with it.
Improvements are being made all the time and touchscreens are combined with voice recognition software to deepen the options available to modern users when it comes to managing their preferred device. With fingertip control and vocal interaction, now is a great time for user-friendliness.
In a few years everyone will own and use a touchscreen PC on a daily basis and this will result in the kind of interactivity and user-friendliness that was the stuff of sci-fi dreams in the recent past. Early adopters will be best placed to reap the benefits, so you should get involved today.
Charles Jameson is a tech blogger and gadget enthusiast whose work appears online and in print. Many people will be interested in touchscreen technology and how it applies to the modern world, so to learn more visit this page.