Why Windows 8 and Touch-enabled Laptops Bode well for the Future of Mobile Learning – [Video]

Google's Chromebook Pixel is a fully touch-enabled laptop

Google’s Chromebook Pixel is a fully touch-enabled laptop

In researching for this post, I read where the first sense we develop as humans is touch. Moreover, the sense of touch is the last sense that goes as we get older. Perhaps this explains why this new era of touch computing makes so much sense for infants and older people alike, in a way the PC revolution never did.

We all know just how logical it is to navigate through apps via touch, using our smartphones and tablets, but what we may not realize is that our affinity for touch is having a profound impact on traditional laptops and desktops, too.

I recently had a number of epiphanies on mobile when I purchased a Windows 8 Samsung Ultrabook, touch-enabled laptop. If you haven’t tried one of these hybrid laptops I highly recommend you go to your electronics store and take them for a spin, the experience will change your computing life.

Soon we won’t be able to purchase laptops or desktops that are not touch-enabled

This is a prediction I make in my mLearning workshops and the presentations I deliver. Microsoft is ahead of the game here with Windows 8 and while Apple is famous for saying that they will never make a MacBook or an iMac with touch, it’s worth noting that they have said that many time of other things and eventually have done it, so I do believe the same will happen with touch-enabled Mac laptops and desktops.

Google understand the importance of touch and recently introduced the next generation of their Chromebook, which is fully touch enabled:

Google's Chromebook Pixel is a fully touch-enabled laptop

Google’s Chromebook Pixel is a fully touch-enabled laptop

Every Software Application as we know it, will need to be Re-imagined for Touch

Touch-enabled laptops and desktops are game-changers.

I also predict that as the touch revolution continues, every software app as we know it today, will need to be re-imagined for touch for the simple fact that today’s software is designed for the precision of the arrow of the cursor of the mouse, and touch requires the not-so-precise use of the human finger. Today’s touch targets aren’t even big enough for a baby’s finger.

Watch the video I recorded below as I demonstrate each of these points.

I’m a Google Search and Google browser user, but I do give kudos to the Microsoft Bing and Internet Explorer teams, who worked on these native Windows 8 versions of their products. In my opinion, these apps gives us a glimpse of what apps like Articulate Storyline and Studio, Camtasia, Captivate, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc, will look like in the near future. Check out the video for more on this.

Conclusion

My point with all these trends is that they will help expedite the adoption of mobile learning everywhere. If all of this happens and I believe it will, we as instructional designers will have very little choice but to optimize the design of our learning for touch, and not just for mobile devices but also for touch-enabled laptops and desktops and that is an exciting future.

Please chime in with your comments and ReTweet this post so others can have their say, too. Here’s a video where I demonstrate more of my mLearning thoughts on this.

Windows 8, touch-enable laptops and m-Learning – YouTube.

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  • Dave

    I’m not sure that touch is coming to the desktop as a primary way for input. It’s fine for a kiosk or something temporary but I can see going 8-10 hours a day touching your 27″ monitor. I don’t think we need to force one way for doing things on every process. It is OK to have touch for mobile (defined as anything away from the desktop) and use other inputs at the desk, IMHO.

    Thanks for the review RJ.

  • Phil Cowcill

    Our new PCs that we are getting for the Mobile Application Development program are Dell computers that have touch screen. This computer has 10 concurrent touch points. We still have the mouse because using the screen as your pointer can be a pain after a few hours. However, as a mobile developer, we can now simulate the touch without pushing to a device. Also as a professor I can now get a student’s attention a little quicker by touching the area where the problem is. This saves me asking the student “can I drive” and take over their mouse.

    I think it’s important for people to realize that just because you get a touch laptop, it doesn’t mean you give up the mouse. I think you’ll start to see both inputs being used as a standard method of navigation.

    That’s my two cents.

    Good blog RJ.

  • Hey RJ, just watched the video, great job. One thing that I believe you missed though when going through the browser interface was from a user experience standpoint. The number one reason why a lot of the main navigation is best placed at the bottom of the screen is so that when you are touching it, your hand is not covering up the content.

    Imagine if that nav was at the top and you had a web page open, it would be necessary to reach across the entire web page and block with your arm and hand a large portion of the content.

    I don’t have bookmarked any specific resources but this is a common theme in designing user experiences for touch devices.

    Thanks for the good watch!

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