The Hidden Cost of Touchscreens

Excerpt from this article:

Physical interfaces are crucial for automotive usability. Operations rely on a simple glance or muscle memory. Touchscreens, by contrast, force drivers to look. Because buttons are not fixed to specific locations, screens inhibit muscle memory and findability. Touchscreens compete for attention with the driving process, adding to the dangers of distracted driving.

Serious interfaces — those that are repeatedly used by a knowledgeable professional and/or in potentially hazardous situations, should not be touchscreen based. If a touchscreen must be used, it should be embedded alongside a set of fixed, physical buttons that support muscle memory and single actions.

What’s happening to in-car interfaces now? Five years later, we’re seeing some car models stick to physical buttons and dials, and that’s a great relief.

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Three artists who find art in the finger smudges on device screens

Smudge Art 02

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Wired recently featured Tabitha Soren’s project, Surface Tension, for which she photographed the fingerprints and smudges left on the screens of devices.

The marks on the glass screens that technology users normally try to ignore or get rid of are the focal point of SURFACE TENSION. The textural conflicts in these pictures record how we now spend our lives. They’re not just grime; they’re evidence of the otherwise invisible.

In an earlier project (also, weirdly, titled Surface Tension), photographer Meggan Gould took photos of her and her husband’s smudged iPad screens.