AT&D #57. User Interfaces: Touchscreens vs. Keyboards

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a touch screen versus the black berry keyboard approach for handheld devices?

Advantages: Touchscreens allow for performing commands with the use of one’s fingers via swiping, tapping and scrolling; touchscreens also have a built-in keyboard which makes for a more simplistic design of a handheld device (i.e. smartphones) where one would simply need to turn on their device and bring up their keyboard among other aforementioned functions. A blackberry keyboard, on the other hand, permits users to exactly micmic the typing of a computer keyboard as opposed to using a numeric keypad (like with early to mid-generation cellphones) so to have users punch in the right letters for texting complete words and sentences, much like with typing on a computer.

Disadvantages: Touchscreens can easily get dirty from excessive use (fingerprints) or little use (dust); they can also freeze or become unresponsive if a user puts too much command in their device and physically, the screen is very vulnerable to cracking owing to slipperiness and size. A blackberry keyboard’s main shortcoming, especially compared to smartphones today, is the size of its keyboard and accompanying screen. Also a keyboard’s buttons may stick like with computer keyboards and oftentimes are very small to press whereas a touchscreen may have larger on-screen buttons better suited for adult hands, ergonomically and practically speaking.

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