Once upon a time, we all had to type on physical keyboards and use actual buttons to interact with our laptops and mobile phones. Now, though, there are touch* screens everywhere. Your phone probably has one. Your tablet definitely does. Your laptop might even have one.
But the thrill of feeling like you're in an episode of Star Trek, flicking your fingers across a screen and making everything move has started to wear off. Now, it turns out, touch-screens can be a bit annoying. They're not always responsive in the way you want, or your fingers are too big, and before you know it you've favourited a boring tweet by someone you don't like and missed out on an eBay auction for something you really wanted. Here are some more annoying things about touch-screens:
Argh! Inaccurate Touches
In relation to the size of information on a screen - whether it's your computer, tablet or mobile phone - fingers are kind of clumsy. They're curved, soft and, compared to your average stylus, pretty huge. That can make it difficult to press the right part of the screen when you're trying to click links or buttons and that can lead to endless frustration. Websites that haven't been properly optimized for mobile devices can be a particular challenge, with clickable content often far too small for comfortable use. It's really very annoying.
Fix it: If you struggle to accurately hit the places on the screen you're aiming for, you have two choices: find a way to zoom into the site you're looking at, often by double tapping or swiping two fingers on the screen, or buy a stylus and skip fingers altogether. With capacitive touch-screens, trying to use a pen or bit of plastic on the screen usually won’t work, so you'll need to buy a special stylus ... and then not lose it - which can be annoying in itself. Nrgh! Typing Takes Forever
We've all learned to type with a full size QWERTY keyboard, and most of us probably learned how to type pretty fast using both thumbs on an old-fashioned mobile phone. With touch-screens. you have to learn how to type all over again: there are no buttons to actually press, and you'll probably have to type using one finger, either in a kind of tapping motion or with a swiping one, depending on what kind of keyboard you're using.
Fix it: There are add-on keyboards for some kinds of touch-screen devices (if it's a laptop, you can just use the real keyboard, of course), but mostly this is just a thing you'll need to get used to.
Oops! Getting Too Used To Them
Alright, technically this isn't a flaw in touch* screens, but - have you ever tried to show someone something on their BlackBerry only to find yourself idiotically swiping at the screen to no effect? Once you've got used to scrolling and swiping on a touch-screen device, trying to use anything else feels weirdly difficult.
Fix it: Until every device in the world has a touch-screen, you'll just have to pay a little more attention to what you're doing. Sorry!