You can’t ignore haptics when shopping for a new touchscreen. There are over a half-dozen touchscreen technologies, each of which uses a different method to detect and respond to touch commands. Resistive, for instance, is a simple touchscreen technology that uses multiple layers of an electrically resistive material to support touch commands, whereas capacitive is a more advanced technology that measures changes in capacitance. Regardless of the technology, however, most touchscreens come with haptics.

What Is Haptics?

Haptics is a form of feedback. It typically involves the use of mechanical forces, such as vibrations, in response to user input. When you perform a touch command, you’ll feel the touchscreen respond with vibrations. These vibrations are the result of haptics.

Haptics isn’t exclusive to touchscreens. Long before it was used in touchscreens, haptics was used in airplanes. Airplanes with servomechanism systems featured built-in haptics.

The Importance of Haptics in Touchscreens

You’re less likely to make input errors when using a touchscreen that features haptics. A study conducted by Researchers from the University of Glasgow found that haptics improves input accuracy by 20%. Whether you’re browsing the internet, typing an email or using an app, you may make input errors. Haptics, however, will reduce input errors by responding to your touch commands. You’ll feel the touchscreen vibrate almost instantly when performing a touch command.

Without haptics, you may end up performing the same touch command two or more times. After performing a touch command initially, you may assume that the touchscreen didn’t register it. After all, touchscreens typically respond by vibrating. Without haptics, you won’t feel the touchscreen vibrate in response to your touch command, so you may perform the same touch command again. Duplicate touch commands such as this can be avoided by choosing a touchscreen with haptics.

Haptics also improved the overall experience associated with touchscreens. Most users expect touchscreens to feature haptics. It’s a native feature that’s included in nearly all types of touchscreens, including most resistive and capacitive touchscreens.

How Haptics Works: What You Should Know

How does haptics work in touchscreens exactly? While there are different types of touchscreens, as well as different haptics systems, most of them involve the use of a motor. There’s typically a small, low-profile motor in the rear of a touchscreen. When you perform a touch command, it will vibrate. The motor will gently shake the touchscreen. It won’t damage the touchscreen. Rather, the motor will produce just enough mechanical force to let you know that your touch command was properly registered.