Building Touchpanel Interfaces

Does your touchpanel ask for too much thought or not enough?

Building Touchpanel Interfaces
View This Slideshow of Touchpanels
Building Touchpanel Interfaces
View This Slideshow of Touchpanels

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Building Touchpanel Interfaces

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The goal of control and automation systems have been the same since the beginning of their time — combine two or more A/V and/or other systems such as lighting and HVAC and make them easy to operate for an end user.

The back end of getting all of those disparate elements to work nicely together is no small feat. What is unanimous among manufacturers, integrators and end users is that no matter what the skill-level of the user, the touchpanel graphical user interface (GUI) needs to be designed for intuitive ease-of-use and consistency.

While each control company approaches the design in a slightly different way, most would agree that the iPad has changed the way an end user expects a GUI to look, feel and more importantly, react. The basic idea of touchpanel design has come a long way in just a few years.

iPad Approach to a Touchpanel

“In my mind, it’s more about the ways people have learned to navigate touch interfaces like the iPad. Similar to the different ways people learn, like visual versus audible, touchpanel users navigate differently as well. Some are linear and some are visual,” says Jeff Kindig, vice president of Marketing Strategy at AMX. “The iPad is driving the demand for easier user experiences because people are so much more familiar with that whole world.”

Savant Systems is a company that produces an Apple-based commercial control system. For Savant, harvesting the vast infrastructure already in place, they are driving convergence between the IT world of control systems and the legacy A/V infrastructure. Jim Carroll is the Executive Vice President and Co-Founder of Savant. “When the iPad came out, we made a bold decision to discontinue all our other user interfaces and work exclusively with iOS devices,” he says. “It really drives the IT-centric nature of our business. It also changed the fundamental dynamics of the industry.”

For Savant Systems as a control company, their number-one responsibility is user experience. Whether it’s a conference room, a classroom, a sports bar, or a hotel room, a person needs to

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