Monthly Archives: February 2012

Touch Screen Monitors (not for Windows 7)

Eliminating the mouse from our computer use diet seems like a real possibility, especially when you consider the number of touch screen technologies now available. The idea of touching the screen instead of moving an arrow around on it seems not only more intuitive, but also easier. However, the way our computers are currently set up was not designed for this type of control.

If you are a PC user, you’re likely familiar with Windows 7. It was designed to be controlled by a mouse. As such, icons, menus, buttons, and other points of contact within Windows 7 and small, in anticipation that the user with interact with a mouse pointer, not their finger on the screen. In our experiences working with adults 55+, we find it challenging for users to be precise enough to use Windows 7 on a touch screen monitor. For instance, when closing a program, the user often needs to tap the “X” to exit the program 3-4 times before they manage to press the exact spot. A similar result happens when trying to tap buttons on Facebook and in web email, such as Gmail.

Luckily, Windows 8 has been redesigned specifically for touch screen monitors. The way we use and control our laptop and desktop computers is about to change substantially over the next 2 years.

Can you believe we’ll eventually phase out keyboards too??? It’s almost hard to imagine. For those with the ability to type quickly… not too far down the road, that might be a useless skill. Who would have thought ?