How has touch interactivity evolved over the past few years, and what are some important things to consider today before implementation?”
Touch interactivity has become sleeker and cleaner from a design POV. However, the ‘Why’ and ‘Where’ do not seem to have gained much traction. There are so many factors to consider. Let’s start with ‘Why,’ or what exactly the technology is supposed to do. Look up a price, product information, way finding, etc., and more times than not (myself included) I see people tapping at a screen and then walking away in frustration, because the technology isn’t working or it is moving very slowly. Ironically, as they walk away, the content is finally appearing on the screen. In other cases, a sales associate has to come and assist, negating the need for the touchscreen. Test, Test, Test! And make sure your system is fast! Time spent or wasted with technology is a frustrating experience, not an enhanced one. I tend to ignore much of this technology, or just for fun, I try it to see if it actually works.
Now let’s talk about where the technology is installed. Signage is typically attached to a column because it is the easiest place to put it, but it may not be the best place. The integration of any technology (touch or not), should be part of the beginning of the design/merchandising process, not an add-on at the end. I recently had an experience with such technology. I was tapping away and made a few mistakes when finally a sales associate came over to assist. Being in the retail design business, I was not getting frustrated, but others might have walked away. Toys R Us has a pretty cool system for toy shopping, probably the best application I have seen. Other than that, price look up is the most valuable to me … but then again, I am probably not the average shopper….