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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

DD2000 - A Look at Design: Touchscreen Desktops

Touchscreen technology has been round for some time, and over the course it has significantly improved from jerky responsiveness or else not picking up user interaction at all, to clean, slick, concise interaction with the touchscreen device, most notably tablets and smart phones.

Understandably companies with touchscreen technology would indeed want to expand this tech over to other products to make them more stylish, more high tech and more desirable to consumers. Since there have been touchscreen iterations of TVs, watches, mp3 players and even keyboards and mice. All of which are viable applications of the technology, it does allow for friendlier user interface in certain devices, whilst being slightly overkill, but still stylish, in others.

 However there is one device that the touchscreen capability does not suit, and indeed the capability is neither needed nor desired. Of course I am talking about touchscreen desktops, PCs redesigned so that they resemble a Mac in that the whole device is together in one and there's no need for a consumer to buy a separate monitor, with touchscreen capability. Initially the idea may not seem bad, up until you realise that the angle at which a monitor would normally sit at is slightly more than 90 degrees. This upright position combined with the fact that a user would have to constantly be lifting up their arm to do a simple gesture results in a sore wrist or arm from a pointless, gimmick used only to encourage people to foolishly buy them.

Looks uncomfortable, doesn't it?

Some touchscreen desktops now do include the feature of tilting back to make the product slightly ergonomic which will definitely improve the product. However the main downfall is that there is no support in the form of software or even apps for touchscreen desktops as people struggle to hit the scroll bar on a website with their finger. Even when simple tasks such as scrolling down a webpage is proven difficult, the product simply fails to meet the desires of the consumer and would only be an effort to use.

In conclusion, touchscreen desktops are a horrible piece of design with next to no thought for user comfort, making it a very user-unfriendly piece of design. However with the release of Windows 8 and a more ergonomic redesign, it may become a much better piece of design in the future.

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