8. Touch Screen

A touch screen is the only device which works as both an input and an output device. You view the options available to you on the screen (output) and you then use your finger to touch the option that you have chosen (input).

touch screen

Touch screens work particularly well with a menu driven interface. For example, a cashpoint (ATM) at a bank would first of all ask which service you want. You touch the option 'withdraw cash' on the screen. You are then presented with another choice, 'how much cash do you want to withdraw?'. Once you have chosen how much, you then get other options such as 'do you want a receipt?'.

Another major use of touch screens are on smart phones and modern tablet computers. Each 'app' is accessed by an icon on the touch screen.

Touch screens are easy to use and are often found in public places such as cashpoints at banks, ticket collection terminals at theatres or airports, information centres at museums.

Touch screens are not commonly used to input large amounts of data because they are not very accurate and they would be tiring on the hands to use for long periods of time.



Advantages of touch screens Disadvantages of touch screens
Easy to use - intuitive, don't need much training Not suitable for controlling large amounts of data. An e-reader can show a lot of detail such as text but the touch control aspect of the screen is usually just a finger swipe to change pages.
Can make choices on the screen by touching the required option Other people might be able to view sensitive data over the user's shoulder e.g. in a bank
Don't need any extra hardware such as a mouse or keyboard, fingers are used to indicate the required option on the screen. Not robust - can soon become faulty if misused.
There are often options to change the size of the display to aid visually impaired users or to simply expand the detail on a page. More expensive than alternatives such as a mouse although some devices offer no alternatives e.g. tablet computer.

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