How To Operate A Touch Screen Properly


Too many toys and gadgets and gizmos are shifting away from physical buttons and using virtual ones on the screen. Touch screens are mainstream now, thanks in part to certain cell phones and the Nintendo DS. But for some reason, lots of people out in the world haven’t grasped how to properly use them.

The Do’s

One should always remember that a touch screen must read and respond to messages from the operator. That takes plenty of computing power to do, especially when lots of power is used to keep the screen lit. It may take a second or two.

Like magic, but it takes practice.

Handle a touch screen like you would a glass of water: delicate (otherwise the glass breaks/the touch screen dies slowly) but firm (so the glass does not slip/so the touch screen reads your messages clearly).

The Don’ts

Do not stab violently at the delicate machinery, nor do not gingerly swipe with the very tip of your nerve endings. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hands, thus…wait, that’s from something else entirely.

The point is, a touch screen is exactly what it is. You touch it, but it is also a screen (give a penny to the smart writer, now). People are either afraid of touching screens due to conditioning, or they brazenly jab at them, thinking that they must be structurally sound.

The Tools

A stylus is your best friend, depending on the device that features a touch screen. But styluses can also cause problems. Anyone ever try to sign your name on a touch screen debit card machine? Yep, that’s the kind of problem we’re talking about here.

It's simple, but yet again, it takes some practice.

The original DS came with a “thumb cap” accessory, which would be ingenious if it worked well enough. The problem is that touch screens only respond well to the sharp point of a stylus, or the warmth of human touch. I wouldn’t be surprised if the thumb cap gets a re-do in a year or two.

The Drawbacks

For a person like me (I have what guitarists and ASL experts call “stupid fingers”), touch screens are a big problem. I continually hit the backspace button on my phone when I try hitting “M.” It becomes a game of one step forward, two steps back.

To add to the headache, touch screens drain batteries on phones, music players, etc., especially if there is a zoom feature. Personally, I wish that Apple would integrate a real keyboard on my iphone. Then it would be close to perfect for me.

To conclude, touch screens aren’t a necessary step forward in technology. They are a fun novelty, and if you aren’t having fun with that novelty, you just shouldn’t have one. It isn’t worth it. I guess it may be a good thing that the next big vogue is going to be motion controls. I look forward to a world where we all swipe at menus too violently or too soft, like Tom Cruise in “Minority Report.” At least we’ll look cool while getting frustrated.

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