Specifying plastic enclosures for touchscreen devices

Author : Robert Cox | Marketing Director | OKW Enclosures

01 July 2021

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End-user of electronic devices are raising the bar ever higher when it comes to ergonomics. They now expect touchscreen-operated devices that are as comfortable & convenient as their mobile phones, writes Robert Cox, Marketing Director at electronics enclosure manufacturer, OKW Enclosures.

The full version of this article was originally featured in the July 2021 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. And sign up to receive your own copy each month.

Hooked on touchscreens

Touchscreens are the default interface of the 21st century. As smartphone users, we’re all hopelessly addicted to them: 22% of people check their mobile every few minutes; 51% look at least a few times per hour. There’s even now a word for the anxiety that builds between ‘fixes’: nomophobia (‘no mobile phone phobia’ – Cambridge Dictionary).

So your next electronic product may well be operated using a touchscreen. Trouble is, that’s not always easy when it comes to the enclosure: traditionally, many standard housings have been geared towards membrane keypads and potentiometers. Yes, you can specify a custom enclosure for a touchscreen – but designing a bespoke housing from the ground up can be costly and time-consuming.

It’s far better to search out a modern standard enclosure that can accommodate a touchscreen, then have the housing customised to your specific requirements. It doesn’t take much machining, finishing and logo/legend printing to make an enclosure truly unique to your chosen application. A good enclosure enables superior ergonomic operation of the device, is robust enough to safeguard the electronics in challenging environments, adds value with superior aesthetics and differentiates your product from those of your competitors.

So what sets a good touchscreen enclosure apart from its older-style rivals? Here’s what you should look for…

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Touchscreen enclosures for handheld electronics

Electronics design engineers are facing increasingly demanding end-users when it comes to handheld electronics. Users are accustomed to handling beautifully designed iPhones and Android equivalents on an hourly basis: the mobile handset manufacturers have set high standards. And your device needs to meet or exceed ever-rising expectations from users...

Wall-mounted touchscreen enclosures

Advances in building management, access control and home automation technology mean you’re increasingly likely to find small touchscreens mounted on walls. But again, while there are plenty of wall-mounted standard enclosures, very few have been created specifically for touchscreens… until now...

Touchscreen enclosures for desktop electronics

A good desktop electronic enclosure should offer the option of a sloping top, inclined at the right angle to ensure optimum viewing and easy operation: this is particularly important for touchscreens. It may seem obvious but it’s essential. Try this test: look at the screen on your mobile phone… now gradually incline it away from you. It doesn’t take much of a tilt to make the onscreen icons awkward to read and operate...

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Multifunction enclosures for touchscreens

So far, we’ve seen handheld enclosures… wall-mount enclosures that can sit on desks… and table-top enclosures that can be screwed to walls. But what if one touchscreen enclosure were versatile enough to suit all the aforementioned working environments: mobile, desktop, wall-mount and flush-fit?...

What if a touchscreen isn’t the best solution?

To paraphrase the author, Mark Twain, rumours of the death of membrane keypads, buttons and knobs are ‘an exaggeration’. They are still very much with us – no matter how popular touchscreens have become. Touchscreens are not an ergonomic panacea: sometimes buttons are better; sometimes knobs are a necessity. Look at your mobile phone – is it completely button-free? Almost certainly not...

Read the full article in EPDT's July 2021 digital issue... 


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