300px-IPod_Touch_2G_BacklightTouchscreen devices are found just about everywhere you look, from retail stores and restaurants to cars, residential homes and commercial workplaces. They allow users to control a device or machine through a touch-based interface. But not all touch user interfaces are the same, as some offer a higher level of accuracy and user satisfaction than others. So, what are some of the elements that make an effective touch user interface?

Haptics Feedback

We’ve talked about this before on our blog, but it’s worth mentioning again that haptics feedback is an excellent way to improve accuracy with touchscreen interfaces. A common example is the vibration produced by a touchscreen tablet or smartphone, indicating that the user’s touch command was registered. Numerous studies have shown haptics to improve both accuracy and user satisfaction of touchscreen devices.


A good touch user interface should also be responsive. In other words, when the operator touches the interface, it should respond by outputting the respective command immediately. If there’s a lag or delay, it could negatively affect the interface’s performance. Thankfully, touchscreen device makers today have placed an emphasis on responsiveness, producing highly responsive devices that overcome this hurdle.


Of course, another element of a good touch user interface design is ergonomics. The term “ergonomics” is used to describe fitting an environment to meet the needs of the operator. When speaking about touch user interfaces, the environment is the interface. Embracing an ergonomically designed interface means the buttons/icons are placed properly so the operator doesn’t have to stretch his or her fingers, and the interface is designed in a manner that’s natural for the operator to use. If the operator has to twist and turn his or her fingers to use the interface, it has poor ergonomics; thus, leading to a lower level of user satisfaction.

Resistant to Fingerprints

Touch user interfaces experience, well, lots of touching. And with this touching comes fingerprints. Over time, these fingerprints can restrict the device’s functionality, preventing the operator’s commands from being properly registered by the interface. There’s a simple and effective solution to this problem, however: oleophobic coating. A good touch user interface device should feature a protective oleophobic coating to resist fingerprints and other debris. It’s not going to necessarily prevent the formation of fingerprints altogether. Rather, it allows the device to continue working even when small, visible fingerprints are present. Make sure your device has an oleophobic coating.