Touchscreen Application Tips
Ten simple pointers that can make your touch-enabled application a
1. Run your application
Remove title bars and menu bars so
your application can take full advantage of the entire display area.
2. Use bright background
colors (not black).
Bright backgrounds in your
application will hide fingerprints and reduce glare. Dithering
or other patterned backgrounds (for example, the "crumpled paper look")
help the eye focus on the screen image instead of reflections,
even in areas where there are no icons or menu choices.
3. Use a simple
point-and-click interface with large buttons.
double-clicks, scroll bars, drop-down menus, multiple windows,
or other elements can confuse the typical user and detract from
user-friendliness and efficiency.
4. Turn the cursor off so
your user will focus on the entire screen instead of the arrow.
5. Always give your users
feedback as soon as they touch the screen.
cursor on the screen makes the user think, "How do I get
the arrow to do what I want?" Remove the cursor, and the
user's thinking and actions become direct instead of indirect-thereby
unlocking the true power of touchscreens.
6. Make your application
fun and fast.
Immediate feedback is critical to reassure the user that a touch has
registered. Responses can be visual, such as 3-D button effects
similar to those found on a standard Windows button. Or you can
provide an audio response, such as a "click" or other sound output
whenever a user touches the screen.
7. Make the application
intuitive, limit choices, and guide the user as much as possible.
Users will walk away from a sluggish system. You can keep their
attention with a quick response to touches. Speedy systems also reduce
vandalism. Avoid graphics modes offering excessive colors or high resolution-these
will only slow down your system.
8. Digitized speech can talk users through your application.
Test your application with users. If they pause in confusion-even
for a moment-you've identified the areas than need improvement.
9. Make your application
part of an attractive package.
Because the human brain can simultaneously process a voice and absorb an image, there is something almost magical about a user
interface that provides voice prompts and touch response. The better
kiosk applications exploit this knowledge for maximum effect. For
example: "Touch the first letter of the company you are looking for."
Click. "Now touch OK." Click.
10. Keep the following in
mind when designing a kiosk cabinet.
Animation and large fonts help attract users to kiosk applications.
The actual design of the kiosk cabinet should also be attractive and
Are you using forced-air ventilation? Put your fan at the top, near
the monitor's vents. To minimize the airborne dust from footsteps,
keep the intake away from the floor. Keep air from entering around the
monitor face. Point your speakers in the direction of your user's
ears. Use an Elo kiosk touchmonitor-otherwise, allow for variations in the physical dimensions of monitor
models, as they change frequently. The display should also be
mounted securely or have a steady base so it feels solid to the touch.
Finally, choose a finish that does not show fingerprints-avoid
polished stainless steel, chrome, or glossy black paint.
For more information on how to build a good touch application visit the Microsoft Dev Center.
For additional tips
on using touchscreens with kiosks, see Keys
to a Successful Kiosk Application.
For information on the
new trend of using mini kiosks at the point of display (POD), see Small