Touch vs. Non-Touch Digital Directories: Not Always a Simple Choice

In terms of choices, digital building directories offer such an embarrassment of riches anymore that it can be hard to know where to start. Digital static? Digital non-touch, non-static? Interactive touchscreen? Wall mount, desk mount or floor mount? What about screen size? Refresh rate? Software? It’s no wonder we have so many clients interested in making the switch from old-style strip or paper directories who come to us frustrated from just trying to wrap their heads around the available options, not even counting other innovations such as 3-D mapping, interactive wayfinding and mobile integrations.

Therefore, we thought it might be a good time to get back to the basics, in order to give those considering investing in digital directories a jumping-off point from which they can begin their exploration. Let’s start with the differences and benefits of touch vs non-touch directories, and how they are best deployed in different environments.

First, it’s important to understand the terms touch and non-touch for what they actually are and do. A non-touch digital directory can be one of two things: either a static screen that always displays the same information, such as office numbers and locations, or a screen that rotates through a set series of different informational “slides”. The entire screen can change, or just sections of the screen, but in both cases, both are considered to be non-touch digital directories.

On the other side, we have digital touchscreen directories, which offer different levels of interactivity, depending on the complexity of the software. Some simply allow for one- or two-button operation, giving users the ability to “page through” different screens, and return to “home.” Others function more like a tablet, with full-screen touch capabilities, offering a more fully interactive and even immersive user experience.

While it may at first glance seem that interactive touchscreens would be the most practical choice, offering more opportunities for customization, it is the environment in which the directory will be deployed that should be of primary concern and have the most influence on whether a touch or non-touch display is chosen. Next week, we’ll address the reasons why the three Ss — setting, situation and surroundings — are so important when considering what kind of directory to purchase, and take a look at a few use cases to better illustrate why and when touch or non-touch digital directories may be most appropriate.

Is your business ready for what’s next in interactive wayfinding? As an end-to-end manufacturer of vertically integrated self-service kiosk solutions, we invite you to submit a request for proposal online or call (800) 628-3603 today to find out how RedyRef can help you give your customers a best-in-class, digital wayfinding experience.

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