Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Touchscreen Habit

My computer is not a tablet, just an ordinary notebook without a touchscreen. The Smartboard, of course, is the ultimate touchscreen.

I never had trouble differentiating between the two until last week when I was demonstrating some of my notebook files to a friend. I got into teaching mode as I was explaining a certain comment and displaying the appropriate screen. Then I wanted to go to the next screen, so I tapped that little arrow at the top of the computer screen.

Nothing happened.

I must have hit that arrow 4 or 5 times before it occurred to me that I was working on my computer ... at home ... without the Smartboard. Of course it wasn't going to work. I had to use the mouse. And it felt so cumbersome to use the mouse, get that arrow up to the top and click the button!

Two minutes later, I was banging at the screen again before I caught myself. This time it took just two tries. At least I'm getting better at this ...

I work on my computer without the Smartboard all the time, creating my notebook files, and I never find myself reaching for the screen. But I always teach with the Smartboard. Interesting how our habits form based on context--and that it didn't take long to get that habituated to the Smartboard!

Touchscreens really are great. My hand felt so natural going for that button--and so cramped when I had to use the mouse instead. Of course, you pay a premium for it, but it's fun when you can have it!


Eli said...

Take a look at the next stage:
TED talk - Jeff Han.

Elky Langer said...

Now that is a cool interface. I'd love to try out an iPhone or iTouch, just to see how the interface works. As he said, the best interface is one that completely disappears--it's just you working naturally with the computer.