The power of touch

Andy Hilton andyh at
Sun Dec 11 18:33:31 EST 2016


I heartily concur, touch in general terms is roaring down the IT highway and the mouse is exiting stage right….

It pains me to even say it, but your point about getting a Surface is actually a powerful argument with realistically no change on the mac horizon at present…..


> On Dec 11, 2016, at 6:10 PM, Bastiaan Olij <bastiaan at> wrote:
> Hi all,
> Okay, a little off topic but I think worth a discussion as this is a
> weak spot at the moment in the Omnis UI.
> Touch interfaces, my line of thought was triggered by this little sales
> pitch from our friends over at Microsoft:
> When the new Macbook came out a few weeks back at around the same time
> the new surface pro line came out one thing I hooked on was the total
> lack of a touch screen on the Macbook while it seems Microsoft is making
> touch a central technology in their lineup. I commented on this and
> rightfully so many of my friends reacted along the lines off "why would
> you need a touch screen, whats the point, how could that possibly
> improve our business applications? Keep your dirty fingers off of my
> screen!"
> Indeed, when I look at our application touch has very little to offer
> over a mouse in a desktop or laptop environment. The main appeal seems
> to be for those who use graphics software as being able to draw on
> screen is a definite plus in a touch environment.
> But 3 things have happened in the past few weeks that are making me
> revisit this line of thought and this video kinda triggered that for me
> and I'd be interested in hearing other peoples views on these.
> First was a discussion here in house about a new bit of functionality a
> few clients have been requesting, the ability to run some screens in our
> application on a tablet device or full sized monitor hanging on a wall
> in the office either displaying certain things or allowing anyone in the
> office to quickly interact with to perform a simple task. Touch is the
> more natural interface in a scenario like this as you don't want a
> keyboard and mouse dangling off of it. We could do an iPad application
> (or java script client app) to do this off course but our current line
> of thought is going in the direction of getting a surface pro (or
> similar windows based device, there are cheaper options available) to
> run a full copy of our Omnis application for this. This is one area for
> us where Microsoft is clawing back ground from Apple, the fact that
> their tablets run Windows allowing us to deploy a normal Windows app
> where we only need to do minor tweaks to make the UI work.
> The second is directly linked to this video and that is my kids who are
> very much acting like that little girl in the video. My kids are now 7
> and 9 and with a dad in IT are growing up with iPads, mobile devices,
> nintendo DSs, computers, etc. My daughter has a little HP laptop she
> takes to school, some of her pears have the version with touch screen. A
> day doesn't go by where I haven't had at least one question from either
> kids why our laptops don't have a touch screen. Both prefer a touch pad
> over a mouse (they hate the mouse) which already completely counters my
> personal experience but touch stands far above that, they do not
> understand why something old fashioned like a mouse pointer is needed
> when everything else they use is touch screen based.
> When we go to the local JBHIFI (computer/media store) especially my
> daughter will spend all time on the surface pro playing with the touch
> screen while I browse for movies.
> They are both growing up in a world where touch is the primary
> interface, the mouse and to a lesser extent the keyboard are seen as
> arcane. And I don't say that lightly, even for keyboard both of them
> prefer voice to text, a technology that makes me cringe but which they
> love. They use the voice button in google, or youtube, or any search
> primarily only gruntingly going back to keyboard if the term they are
> searching on is not understood by the voice recognition.
> Images of Scotty talking to a mouse in Star Trek IV lively spring to
> mind, that really is how my kids feel about our laptops and computers.
> The third to a lesser extend is Virtual Reality. I'm a big VR fan having
> regular plays with all 3 major devices (rift/vive/psvr), owning a PSVR
> and hoping to get my hands on the hololens in the not too distant
> future. Again its much more my kids then myself that have proven to be
> the eye opener here. For me its the realisation of a childhood dream
> finally being able to roam around in virtual reality but I see it mostly
> as a toy. Watching my kids play something like office simulator or tilt
> brush on an HTV vive and you suddenly realise, this is their future. The
> ease at which they adapt to this type of interface makes you realise how
> this has no other option then be a transformative technology in our
> business somewhere in the foreseeable future. While I don't see VR
> taking hold very quickly in business, AR with things like the hololens
> will, but its far more the tactile interface that makes me wonder what
> will come in between. On a quick side note, watch some of the stuff
> Microsoft has out there about how they envision AR to be used in
> business, they are definitely on to something.
> Using my kids as a barometer, they are learning to use their hands and
> voice to interact with computers far more then my generation ever did.
> Even with desktops taking a look at technologies like leap motion makes
> you wonder how much life there really is left in the good old keyboard
> and mouse. While I don't think the keyboard will disappear fully as
> voice isn't always practical nor good enough, I am feeling more and more
> that the days of the mouse as an input device are numbered and that the
> keyboard will slowly take a back seat.
> Something to think about, what would our world look like? How would we
> design business applications like the sort we build in Omnis, in a world
> my kids will expect? What will Omnis need to add to stay relevant in
> this world?
> Cheers,
> Bas
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