Touch Panel Design Issues
Before you start your touch panel layout, you should consider some very basic issues that will affect the users experience with your control system.
Handicapped Users - Do the users of this panel have any special needs requirements like color blindness or limited vision requiring better audio feedback? Did you know that the RED and GREEN color spectrums are the most common colors missing for people with color blindness? Do the button faces need to be oversized or do you need to confirm button presses with "Are you sure?" screens?
Environmental - Is your panel to be used in a darkened room or in a glass walled room exposure to direct sunlight? A touch panel located in a high ambient light condition will have different contrast issues from a similar touch panel that is located in low light conditions. If so, you may need to include panel contrast controls.
Panel Size - Are you using the correct panel for the job? A larger panel will always give you more room to spread out your design but is it appropriate for the space where it will be located?
Panel Location - Is the panel located in a strange place that will change the viewing angle? Panels that are located either above or below the normal line of sight may need special contrast or viewing angle controls to allow users to adjust for their height.
Client Requests - Often the Client has an idea of what they want you to deliver. You should educate them in good panel design and arrive at a compromise between their expectations and a good panel design.
Available Resources - Does the Client have any images, color palettes or corporate media that absolutely need incorporated into the touch panel? It is always better to ask upfront to save time in a redesigning down the road!
Application or Usage - Will this panel be used by operators that can tolerate more detail to allow for more granular control or is it an executive panel that must be slick and easy to use?
Language - Do the users of this touch panel speak more than one language? You may want to use icons instead of words (on buttons and labels) but be sure to have a multilingual help page that defines what each button means.
Save Time and Money Designing your Touch Panels...
Simply by asking a few questions and considering a variety of factors, you can save development time and money (and look pretty smart too). Over time you will build up you own stable of questions to ask.
Next, we move onto the good stuff - CRAP!