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The Pros and Cons of Touchscreen Displays in Public Spaces

Until a few years ago, touchscreens were in the process of being accepted as new additions to the household, seeing as each individual of the family seemed to come with one attached to the hand. But lately, the touchscreen has made its way out of the confined space of a home or an office, making a show of itself in all its glory, before the public eye.

While it does bring swag to an otherwise dull looking space, there are other angles to the inclusion of the latest touchscreen technology to an area inhabited by the general public.

The Pros:

1. Always know where you are

Train stations and large shopping malls are now commonly using touch screen technology to display maps. At a train station, a map will facilitate travelers with a display of the complete route taken by each line. Passengers are often seen peering closely at the display to understand which line to take and which stop to get off on next. This is most commonly seen in metropolitan cities, of course, where tourists are commonplace.

Shopping malls are an equally practical location for a touch screen display that allows people to interact with the screen and locate the exact store that they are looking for. The user friendly nature of touchscreen technology guarantees that users of all capacity will be able to make use of it to get where they need to be. No more running after security guards or waiting for turns at the information centre. Just walk a few steps and you’ll be face to face with an interactive map and you’re all set.

2. “Cross the threshold to participation”

A stimulating study regarding touch screens in public places showed how they can be used to create a positive, engaging atmosphere among people gathered at a location for a common purpose.  In this experiment, touch screens have been made a tool to spark conversations, remove inhibitions, and trigger discussions, between complete strangers.

3. Low Maintenance and Easy to Use

For something that’s to be placed in a public locality, a device must be one that is not easily broken or run down. With the absence of buttons as in a keyboard, the touch screen is safe from dust, dirt, and moisture getting stuck in between, impeding its long term smooth running.

Furthermore, the fact that the software is intuitive means that people do not need a manual to operate a touchscreen display. People are used to pointing to the thing that they want or choose. Hence, a touch screen allows them to interact freely and make full use of the technology. These simple yet fundamental features make touchscreens a highly resourceful device for use in public areas.

The Cons:

1. Cleanliness and Hygiene

With so many hands touching a screen, it is sure to carry enough germs to send the squeaky police running for cover. Apart from the local maintenance person wiping it clean from time to time, there’s really not much that can be done to counter this fact.

Additionally, the multiple hands constantly in contact with the screen also causes layers of dirt and grease to accumulate on the surface.  This is then not only an issue of cleanliness but also of visibility of displayed information. The dirtier the screen, the less readable the text shown, hence reducing the appeal of the device altogether.

2. Low precision

The touch screen may get clumsy at times. It’s a common experience to have touched one button and be shown another on the screen. This low precision phenomenon has to do with air temperature as much as with user interface.

So in a mall, when a man is trying to find Ralph Lauren but instead keeps getting directed to Victoria’s Secret, there’s bound to be some inconvenience may also read Russians Pose as Americans to Steal Data on Social Media.

3. For the visually impaired

Touch screens still happen to be difficult to use for the visually impaired as technology is yet to incorporate a way to facilitate them.  In public areas especially, when most people are being enabled to use the touch screen to their advantage, those challenged with eyesight should also be able to do the same. A button combined with sound navigation could prove to be helpful.

While pros and cons are many, it goes without saying that the appearance of touch screens in common public places is only going to increase further in the coming times.






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