Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the years; this is especially true of information and communications technologies. Our ancestors probably never imagined we would be communicating across continents using powerful handheld phones. And until recently our devices had screens separate from the input device. Screens were for viewing, and keypads were for typing in data and instructions. Then touch screen technology came along and changed even that. Now many of us can use our screens for viewing as well as data input. That does not mean that everybody is sold on the use of touch screen technology; there are pros and cons to consider, as in almost everything else.
One of the main advantages that touch screens offers is the simplified interface, at least in the hands of the user – it is more complex for the developers because they involve lots more software in the background to make it all work. When used in displays, they offer a level of interactivity that cannot be replicated in screens without the technology. They also display better – there are no separate input devices to add clutter to the space.
Many of our smart devices are now fitted with the latest multi-touch screens capable of reading touches on multiple points and translating them into data input and instructions. This gives our smart device experience a level of convenience we have never had before. We can open and close files, enlarge and rotate images, type in letters, and instantly share content through touch screens on smart phones and tablets which are connected to the internet. You can say that it brings communicating and socializing to our fingertips – literally.
So why doesn’t everyone like touch screen technology? Well, simply because if there are pros there are some cons as well. One of the biggest disadvantages posed by the use of touch screens in smart phones and tablets is the difficulty in transitioning from the use of keypads. While we are using keypads, we can see and feel each key separately. We can feel a give whenever we push each button. Touch screens only have flat surfaces; you cannot type by touch alone. You have to see what you are doing and it does not take much for your finger to linger too long on a key or drift to the next one. This has caused a few people to go back to using phones with simple viewing screens.
Since these new screens are operated by touch, they get smudged or dirty easily. The dirt interferes with the viewing of images and data on the screen. In some cases dirt and scratches interfere with the function of touch screens as well.
Of the two main types of technology used on about 80% of touch screens, the resistive type can be prone to breakage of conductors due to repeated bending; projected capacitance touch screens, on the other hand, are susceptible to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and only responds to charged pointing devices (namely your finger/s). Engineers, possibly including members of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, are hard at work trying to find solutions to these weaknesses.
If you have nimble fingers, touch screen technology offers a world of convenience at your fingertips; otherwise you may want to stick to phones with normal viewing screens.