How Could Touch Change The Internet?

I wanna hold your handAs much as I dislike it on my phone, it’s tough to argue that touchscreens are all the rage, and let’s be clear – they’re not only taking over the cellphone market. More and more computers – both desktop and laptop – are coming out with touchscreen support, and to be honest, I’m rather excited to see touchscreen on my laptop.

You may recall, previously, I had a Fujitsu P1610 TabletPC, and honestly, I loved it. Aside from the keyboard, which was entirely too small to be usable, and the stupid nub instead of a touchpad, the P1610 was an awesome little machine, and really introduced me to the cool things that you can do with a touchscreen computer. I’ve seen more and more netbooks starting to include a touchscreen display, and as that trend is only going to continue to increase, I’m wondering how touchscreens will affect how we interact with the Internet.

Input

For starters, a touchscreen for input introduces handwriting to the computer world. Historically, text has always been input to computers using a keyboard of some sort – you touch a key, and the corresponding letter gets inserted. All that time spent learning cursive in grade school was immediately dumped upon entering keyboarding class in high school and junior high. Touchscreen makes handwriting important again, and let’s be honest, a handwritten letter is *always* better than a typed one.

Several blogs that I read have lately started ‘ink posts’, or handwritten blog posts written on a touchscreen computer, and posted without converting the handwriting to typed text. You can see a sample here and here. It’s a bit odd, and of course, there will be issues reading some peoples’ handwriting, but it’s insanely more personal, and given that ‘Web 3.0’ or whatever is supposed to be a more social web, wouldn’t more personal be better?

Interaction

One thing that really bothers me about my precious Dell XPS M1330 is the touchpad. At ~2.8-inches, most cellphone manufacturers would consider it too small to be a touchscreen, yet it’s supposed to allow me to interact with my laptop’s large high-resolution display. It just doesn’t make sense. With a touchscreen display, I don’t have to worry about that – I simply touch what I want to open, just like you do on touchscreen cell phones.

Of course, there are things on the computer for which touch is not going to be awesome, but it still brings new things to the table, if done correctly.

As someone who almost never uses keyboard shortcuts, but rather depends on the mouse, I can easily see touchscreen interaction making all sorts of things possible.

So, as touchscreens take over the computing industry – mobile, portable, and stationary – how will things change? Will it become commonplace to see handwritten blog posts? What types of new interaction will we see?

Published by rcadden

Just a dude with a phone.

2 thoughts on “How Could Touch Change The Internet?

  1. Touch has certainly changed my computer usage, I don’t have a touchscreen laptop, but I know I feel much more liberated when using the iPhone. The whole experience is more natural, I guess because there is no detachment.

    Touch interfaces in a few years from now working hand-in-hand with continuous speech recognition (Linguistic User Interface) could be the best solution for computers of all kinds.

  2. Touch has certainly changed my computer usage, I don’t have a touchscreen laptop, but I know I feel much more liberated when using the iPhone. The whole experience is more natural, I guess because there is no detachment.

    Touch interfaces in a few years from now working hand-in-hand with continuous speech recognition (Linguistic User Interface) could be the best solution for computers of all kinds.

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