Due to the nature of flat screen kiosks, the interactive ‘buttons’ on the screen are virtual buttons rather than using a physical keyboard. The software running on the kiosk recognises parts of the screen as buttons that activate other functionality. The screen can contain as many buttons as needs be, all of, which are flat. Because there are no mechanical keys to press, it means that there is less hardware on the machine that could get damaged during the day to day use or misuse. Therefore flat screen kiosks save money because they have fewer mechanical inputs which could be vandalised or misused.
The lack of keyboard on a flat screen kiosk means that the machine is more streamlined than other kiosks. Great if you want a kiosk on the wall or if you don’t much have floor space to accommodate a bulky, freestanding counterpart.
Should you find at a later date that you require an additional button on your application, with a flat-screen kiosk the software can fairly easily be changed to incorporate more buttons. This would not be possible if the hardware restricted the number of buttons available, and you probably have to replace the unit with a kiosk which offered you more buttons or more flexibility.
When touch screen kiosk software is developed, it is designed in a simple way that doesn’t assume that the user has any experience of computer technology. Touch screen buttons are big and bold and clearly says what will happen if the user presses the button. Screens are kept uncluttered with minimal text as so to keep the user of the machine at its very simplest. Additionally, the screen includes signposts and prompts to help the novice user navigate their way around the information and to access the areas which are of most interest to them.
Because a touch screen kiosk requires less hardware, they can be made in a portable form, ideal for taking to groups, clubs or meetings. The portable kiosk can contain all of the same software as a full-sized kiosk, but it has the advantage of mobility, so it can be taken to the users.
Touch screen devices are becoming a familiar sight in everyday life now with mobile phones adopting touch screens and touch screen EPOS systems now available in many supermarkets for customers to use.
There is, however, a limit to how easy a touchscreen button system using on-screen keyboard will be compared with having a real physical keyboard. For people with sight difficulties, specialist physical keyboards are available with brail lettering on the keys. While some work can be done with contrasting colours and large buttons on the screen, for some, a physical keyboard remains the only practical option.
At the time of writing this article, new technologies are being seen on the market whereby a user can interact with the kiosk simply by arm or hand gestures and one would presume it only a matter of time before this technology will be seen on touch screen kiosks too.