Amit Paranjape’s Blog

The ‘Touch’ vs. ‘Tactile’ Debate For Computers & Mobile Handsets

Posted in Information Technology, Science & Technology by Amit Paranjape on December 19, 2011

There is a lot of discussion out there about how the ‘Touch’ display keypads are going to increasingly take over from the conventional ‘Tactile’ ones. The rise of iPhone, iPad and other Tablets, Touch Smart Phones are making touch interfaces more and more prominent.

In fact some people have already started writing the obituaries of the good old fashioned tactile keyboard. But not so fast.

I for one cannot just figure out how a touch keyboard can replicate the tactile feedback of contact keys. Or the contoured feel of a mobile handset’s QWERTY keypad.
Touch is fine when you have to type a little, and when you are largely just reading/interacting – but definitely not ideal for writing documents, emails and blog posts like this one. And let us look at some other areas as well. Can you imagine a pianist playing on a touch pad piano? Maybe a ‘Tabla’ (a popular Indian percussion instrument, that has a reasonably flat surface.
Some of my friends who are big cheerleaders of ‘Touch’ (and think that I may be stuck in the stone age…) talk about how swipe, page turn and other gestures are improving interactivity and productivity. But to me they are just better replacements of the nearly 40 year old ‘Mouse’. I agree – the Mouse needs a replacement and a touch pad is a presents a very good improvement. But just cannot see a touch pad being used for heavy duty typing!
Wonder what you think?
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