Touchscreen devices typically run applications, also known as apps, within an operating system like iOS, Android or Windows. Using your touchscreen device, you can navigate to the desired app within the operating system to launch it. Once launched, you can then use the app. There are literally tens of thousands of apps available for touchscreen devices. And while they all support touch-based input, there are several nuances regarding their function and performance. So, what makes an effective touchscreen app exactly?

Contrasting Colors

Contrasting colors improve a touchscreen app’s usability by highlighting words, buttons, images and other important elements. If a touchscreen app contains text, for example, the color of the text should contrast to the color of the background. If the text is black, a white background can be used to improve the app’s usability. Black text against a white background allows users to easily see and read the text without straining their eyes.

Large, Easy-to-See Buttons

In addition to contrasting colors, effective touchscreen apps also have large, easy-to-see buttons. Some app developers use small buttons to save space. Conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that you can fit more buttons in an app’s interface if those buttons are small rather than large. The downside to small buttons, however, is that it’s difficult for users to see and tap. Therefore, app developers should incorporate large, easy-to-see buttons in their app’s design.


Touchscreen apps should be responsive to touch commands. In other words, there shouldn’t be a long delay from when a user taps the screen to when the app responds with the appropriate action. A long delay creates a poor level of usability while also increasing the risk of erroneous commands. To prevent this from happening, most seasoned app developers emphasize the importance of responsiveness in their app’s design.

Tactile Feedback

An effective touchscreen app should also provide some level of tactile feedback. What is tactile feedback exactly? Tactile feedback is a feature in touchscreen devices and human machine interfaces (HMIs) that responds to touch commands with vibration. When you tap or touch the screen, the app should tell your device to vibrate. Known as tactile feedback, this vibration serves as a notification, informing you that your command was registered. Research has even shown that tactile feedback reducing typing errors and improves user satisfaction, making it an essential feature that all touchscreen devices and their apps should have.