Touchscreens are in fashion, popularized initially by kiosks but most recently by smart-phones led by the Apple iPhone they are also being used for interactive retail media systems. But what about buttons – the humble button deserves consideration, it is intuitive and low cost, easy to install and reliable. The following is a brief look at some of the issues…
- Intuitive: Buttons are very intuitive, you see a button you know it is there to be pressed. Touchscreens need content that makes it clear that the display is touch-sensitive and where to touch.
- Cost: Generally buttons will be lower cost, possibly by a very considerable margin.
- Space: Buttons need space whereas touchscreens only take up the space of the display, this can be a key factor for shelf-edge displays in retail.
- Reliability: Both are likely to be quite reliable though touch panels may suffer from being too sensitive or not sensitive enough
- Feedback: You know when you have pressed a button but with a touchscreen users are never quite sure until the system responds.
- Dynamic function: With a touch screen it is relatively easy to make the button function context sensitive. Buttons can have on-screen descriptions (as with ATM cash machines) but that can lead to alignment issues.
- Calibration: Buttons don’t need calibration, neither do segment type touch screens.
- Design: Buttons come in all shapes, sizes and with a range of design and labeling options.
- Personal preference: Very often a key deciding factor.
So don’t forget buttons – they are very engaging.