Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Touch surfaces want to be horizontal

In the nsquared development studio we have been saying for years that the advantage of touch, really shines on the table top and in the hand because of the orientation of a horizontal screen lends itself to far superior touch experiences.

This morning in his presentation of the new Mac OSX software Steve Jobs made the following statement:

“touch surfaces don’t want to be vertical, it gives great demo, but after a short period of time you start to fatigue and after an extended period of time your arm wants to fall off, it doesn’t work, it’s ergonomically terrible, touch surfaces want to be horizontal,…"

"this doesn't work"

Thank you, Steve and Apple for helping to clarify this point in such a concise manner. Let's hope more people listen to this and understand the benefits of horizontal touch surfaces.

2 comments:

Michael said...

Yes, touch surfaces want to be horizontal. Viewing surface on the other hand want to be vertical.

This is where the tabletop interface fails imho. I keep wanting to stand over it to see things fully.

With a tablet type device you change your orientation depending on what you are doing. When you are touching you lay it more flat and when you are viewing you raise it to be more vertical.

Dr. Neil said...

Michael, I think you have a valid point when it comes to single user screens. The table top is an ideal place for multi-user engagement with digital content. the team at nsquared has been working with Microsoft Surface for nearly 2 years now and we have found that when multiple users (between 2 and 8 people) wish to engage with digital content the table top provides a unique advantage over vertical screens. The main advantage is that a table is a meeting place. it is a comfortable place to sit and discuss ideas, review documents and sketch out concepts.
Have a look at the nsquared business pack for applications that enhance the conversation at a meeting room table.