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

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What are the advantages and disadvantages of a using 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 to activate 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 (on early-mid generation cellphones) to punch in the right letters to type or text complete words and sentences.

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

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