Touch Screens and Spa/Salon Manager

I just finished my first cut at a standing desk and the process of working on putting together a comfortable and easy-to-use workstation reminded me of an important point we don’t spend enough time talking about – from the beginning we designed the Spa/Salon Manager program to work well with touch screen monitors.

Now any program will ‘work’ with a touch screen monitor. A touch screen simply allows you to replace the motions and left-click actions of a mouse by touching the screen with your finger. A mouse allows for far more control than touching a screen allows though. The design of Microsoft Windows itself shows this expectation of control – small buttons, tiny drop-down menus (File, Edit, View, etc. along the top). Most Windows versions of salon software follow that same model – they’re designed to look like a Windows program. That means that unless you’re very careful it’s easy to miss what you’re trying to click with a touch screen – the buttons are just too small and touching the screen too inexact to make the touch screen a time saver or even a comfortable option at a standing work station.

Our program isn’t designed following those Windows standards that are unfriendly to a touch interface. We used a button-based menu system for all of our screens, not Windows drop-down menus. All of these buttons are far larger than you’d find in a typical Windows program. We’ve made sure to avoid any small data entry boxes and as often as possible have offered drop-down boxes as an alternative to typing in information. The effect is that our program not only makes it easy to use a touch screen in place of a mouse – for many operations we avoid a need for a keyboard as well.

So who should use a touch screen? The same people who are trying to do what I’m doing now – standing at a desk. While it is cumbersome to reach toward a touch screen while seated, reaching toward a touch screen while standing is often easier than using a mouse would be at the same desk. I’ve seen some wonderful ergonomic desks built to use a touch screen – one even had the touch screen built-in to a slanted standing desk similar to a podium! However you set up your ideal desk though we designed our program to make it comfortable and easy to touch the screen.

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