Any data on best control placement on inclined touch screens?

7 Oct 2007 - 2:52pm
6 years ago
5 replies
603 reads
Will Parker
2007

Our team has been been given the task of redesigning a set of kiosk
interfaces. We have the opportunity to rearrange the navigation
controls, but we have no feedback from users regarding the current
layout and no budget to do usability studies or user interviews.

I'd like to do a survey of literature to guide best placement of the
navigation controls, and I'll need data in order to continue the
project of teaching our designers and clients that "it looks good" is
not a sufficient strategy in UI layout.

A few of the kiosks are inclined touchscreens placed at about waist
height on a standing adult -- the user audience can range in age from
12 to 90 years. (Don't even get me started on the problem of
accommodating blind or wheelchair-bound visitors. Luckily, there are
live sales attendants on hand.)

The screens are about tabloid-sized (A3 for those of you using a real
measurement system), in landscape orientation. The same UI layout is
used on a similar set of standard non-touch monitors, with mouse-
controlled pointers. We'd like to use the same UI on both sets of
kiosks.

Currently, the navigational controls are arrayed in two groups - a
vertical bar on the left and a strip of buttons at the bottom. It's
unlikely that any one visitor would use the touch-screens for more
than 10 minutes at a time, and no text input is required for the
touch-screens.

The primary content is displayed in a large rectangle above and right
of the navigation controls, and we can't divide or obscure the
content without a much bigger re-design than we're currently
contemplating.

My current thinking is that we need to push all the nav controls
(between 6 and 9 buttons) into one relatively compact group (probably
the left column) to avoid requiring the user to simultaneously hold
the arm aloft and track left-right while acquiring the target.

Any other advice you can give would, as always, be most welcome.

-Will

Will Parker
WParker at ChannelingDesign.com

Comments

7 Oct 2007 - 3:01pm
Jarod Tang
2007

Hi Will Parker:

On 10/7/07, Will Parker <wparker at channelingdesign.com> wrote:
> Our team has been been given the task of redesigning a set of kiosk
> interfaces. We have the opportunity to rearrange the navigation
> controls, but we have no feedback from users regarding the current
> layout and no budget to do usability studies or user interviews.
This is quite interesting. You design for them, at least you can
observing the user using the user's behavior in using current version
of kiosk. What's their goal and what's they pain for, and e.g. maybe
the thing you should REALLY figure out.
Some user's research dont cost your any money, just need you careful
arrangement for what you want do research on and what's the result you
expect. Skip it maybe not a wise decision.

Hope these suggestion helps, anyway.

Cheers
-- Jarod

--
IxD for better life style.

http://jarodtang.blogspot.com

7 Oct 2007 - 3:51pm
Will Parker
2007

On Oct 7, 2007, at 1:01 PM, Jarod Tang wrote:

> Hi Will Parker:
>
> On 10/7/07, Will Parker <wparker at channelingdesign.com> wrote:
>> Our team has been been given the task of redesigning a set of kiosk
>> interfaces. We have the opportunity to rearrange the navigation
>> controls, but we have no feedback from users regarding the current
>> layout and no budget to do usability studies or user interviews.

> This is quite interesting.

Isn't it, though?

> You design for them, at least you can observing the user using the
> user's behavior in using current version
> of kiosk. What's their goal and what's they pain for, and e.g. maybe
> the thing you should REALLY figure out.

Yes, that's absolutely what we should be doing, and if we were a web
development company, I could probably argue that case. However, we're
an advertising agency.

The few of us who have any experience with UI design and architecture
are in the position of educating the 98% within the agency and the
97% at our clients who believe that interface design is simply a
matter of pretty pictures arranged artfully.

> Some user's research dont cost your any money, just need you careful
> arrangement for what you want do research on and what's the result you
> expect. Skip it maybe not a wise decision.

No money for research. No time for observation. We don't even have a
copy of the current kiosk software in-house.

Whether it's a wise choice or not, those are the conditions under
which I will have to work, which is precisely why I described the
absurd situation in my plea for help.

> Hope these suggestion helps, anyway.

Thanks for attempting to educate an apparently foolish person who
should know better than ignoring the user, but that's someone further
up the management tree.

Will Parker
WParker at ChannelingDesign.com

7 Oct 2007 - 4:02pm
Jarod Tang
2007

Hi Will Parker:
> Hope these suggestion helps, anyway.
> Thanks for attempting to educate an apparently foolish person who should
> know better than ignoring the user, but that's someone further up the
> management tree.

Sorry for hearing this ( also sorry for me not understand you in this
SO hard condition ), as you say, you even haven't a copy of the kiosk
in the office to playing with ( so you at least can fight for get one
to play with/ or just go for the real machine to play with it , and
also play as the REAL use you self, to get feeling about user's
context).
Also the competitor's study can help you at this case. As you know
the important thing is to empathy with the future user. the above may
help you ( I guess some guy will follow to come up other ideas about
the problem).

Cheers & Best to you.
-- Jarod

--
IxD for better life style.

http://jarodtang.blogspot.com

7 Oct 2007 - 4:40pm
Will Parker
2007

On Oct 7, 2007, at 2:02 PM, Jarod Tang wrote:

> Hi Will Parker:
>> Hope these suggestion helps, anyway.
>> Thanks for attempting to educate an apparently foolish person who
>> should
>> know better than ignoring the user, but that's someone further up the
>> management tree.
>
> Sorry for hearing this ( also sorry for me not understand you in this
> SO hard condition ),

No problem. I sincerely appreciate your effort to clear up the
fundamental problem first, but it's one that I don't have the power
to clear away.

> as you say, you even haven't a copy of the kiosk
> in the office to playing with ( so you at least can fight for get one
> to play with/ or just go for the real machine to play with it , and
> also play as the REAL use you self, to get feeling about user's
> context).

We're fighting on that particular issue; we _hope_ to have a kiosk to
work with. We have the design specs in hand; I'm spending my weekend
reverse engineering all the pretty pictures into proper functional
specs and workflows and identifying pain points along the way. The
control grouping and placement is just one of the issues I've ID'd so
far.

I've got good rapport with the graphic designers who are going to do
the bulk of the redesign, and the primary developer on the project
has a good solid grasp on fundamental UI design principles. As long
as I can build their confidence in validity of the the solutions I
recommend, I should be able to move a few boulders out of the way.

> Also the competitor's study can help you at this case. As you know
> the important thing is to empathy with the future user.

Luckily, our quite large client has several equally large competitors
whose websites display some of the same UxD problems I'm seeing here,
plus some upstart competitors who do UxD much, much better. I have an
_excellent_ pool of examples (both good and bad) for most purposes.
For touch screens, not so much.

> the above may help you ( I guess some guy will follow to come up
> other ideas about the problem).
>
> Cheers & Best to you.
> -- Jarod

Thanks again.

Will Parker
WParker at ChannelingDesign.com

8 Oct 2007 - 7:10am
Rob Tannen
2006

Will - I think you're on the right track in consolidating the touch
controls into a single area. I would suggest that you consider the
right side of the screen rather than the left, given that the
majority of users will be right-handed (presumably). If the touch
points are on the left, then a right-handed user will be reaching
across his or her body, and also obstructing the view of the
information in front of them. But that's based on my assumptions of
the context of use which may not be accurate.

Also, if you're looking for general human factors information on
touchscreens, I reccomend Greg Bender's dissertation (1999) -
http://humanfactors.typepad.com/idsa/2005/03/overview_of_tou.html

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://gamma.ixda.org/discuss?post=21162

Syndicate content Get the feed