Coming to a Screen Near You: Multi‑touch
Lynn Pausic

Smartphone and tablet experiences are a major force influencing product development, irrespective of industry, according to an internal survey we recently conducted with our clients. Business users want to access their software applications from a myriad of devices, all behaving correctly regardless of form factor.

However, smartphones and tablets fall short in some situations, product managers acknowledged in our survey. For example, would you want a radiologist reading your MRI results on her phone? How about an investment advisor aligning a portfolio against Bayesian projected outcomes constrained to 480 pixels? Likely not. Fortunately, these situations do not preclude users who work in more complex domains from expecting innovation.

The most cutting-edge companies are diving into solutions employing high-resolution multi-touch (Figure 1). This goes beyond smartphones and tablets. Multi-touch experiences are delivered via large, high-resolution touch screens, where users navigate with one or two hands by applying multiple touch points simultaneously (gesture chords). Multi-touch interaction provides a more natural way for users to engage that is highly efficient and more intuitive than traditional input methods such as a mouse or keyboard. If a radiologist wants to rotate a 3D MRI, she simply touches her fingers to the screen in a natural position and rotates. No need to figure out (or remember) how to hold down a series of keyboard commands and scroll a mouse-wheel at the same time.

Figure 1: Multi–touch prototype by Expero shows a biochemist studying how a protein molecule (on the left) might react when combined with other structures.

In addition to being beneficial for end-users, multi-touch brings many perks to businesses that employ it:

What once seemed to be futuristic science fiction is now upon us. Large-screen touch displays that used to cost upward of $35,000 can now be purchased for a tenth the price. A new wave of user experience is coming, and we at Expero are excited to be part of it. The economics are quickly tilting favorably for more and more enterprises to join in. Multi-touch is coming soon to a screen near you.