Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Multitouch and Public Accomodations

I've been having a brilliant offline conversation with JoshB. He brought up an aspect of MS Surface Multi-touch Othodoxy that I just disagree with:

"My understanding of NUI was that you have fewer paths but the frequency of interaction is higher and more contextual relative to GUI."

I'm going to get heretical here and say that multitouch in existing kiosk applications (ATMs, Ticket kiosks, etc.) is a usability disaster waiting to happen.

In "single serving" applications, you want modeless interactions and a linear decision tree. If you are going to design a linear decision path and minimize interaction modes, why not go a step further and just do single point directed every ATM in christendom.

It cuts hardware costs in half and increases usability.


  1. Jonathan,

    In public spaces, single-touch interaction is not well-evolved. I shudder to think of what might happen on the same sort of system, but multi-touch enabled. Here are links to video clips I took while I unsuccessfully interacted with single-touch displays:

    What NOT to do:
    Ballantyne Touch Screen in the Rain

    User-Unfriendly Information Kiosk Interactive Map (Cleveland Clinic)

    Fade to Red

  2. There actually are some well defined best practices for single touch interfaces...

    These people clearly didn't know them.