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Aug 2008

Violation of a touch-screen standard

While walking through the Berri-UQAM Subway Station in Montreal, I noticed that a cell-phone company named Koodo (a low-cost brand of Telus) has implemented touch-screen interfaces on the walls of the station. The system is very flashy and sure to garner some attention, but after playing the “find Koodo” game on the system, I quickly ran into a very frustrating interface design error.

You’ll notice I have a real hard time navigating as I try to move the screen around. I was expecting the game to remain consistent with touch-screen standards and real-world physics, allowing me hold and drag the map. Instead, touching the screen moves the on-screen view directly to the part of the map which corresponds to that part of the screen. For instance, when I touch the top right corner of the screen, the on-screen view moves directly to the top-right corner of the map. This interface is not natural and took me several tries to figure out. My confusion was further multiplied by the few occasions where the system seemed to actually work the way I expected, prolonging the usability interference. Don’t take my word for it; next time you’re in the metro, give it a try and let us know what you thought!

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