Author Topic: Touch Screens vs. Knobs & Buttons  (Read 219 times)

Michael Larson

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Touch Screens vs. Knobs & Buttons
« on: August 04, 2017, 01:32:12 PM »
Digitrax just announced it's new LNWI device to connect throttle-enabled mobile devices to their Loconet.  That got me to thinking about how I have always maintained that I prefer a controller with a knob over a touch screen slider.  And that led to the following questions.

Are there any of us RP users who would like to have a few more physical controls on the HC?  Not everything, obviously, but perhaps the "function" buttons?  Engine, horn, lights, sounds on physical buttons rather than screen buttons?  Use the touch screen for everything else.

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I thought I would put the question out there to see what other RP users think.

Michael
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 01:33:57 PM by Michael Larson »
Michael Larson
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Alan

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Re: Touch Screens vs. Knobs & Buttons
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2017, 05:29:37 PM »
It's not just you. I like tactile controls too.

I would like to have a button on the side of the HC case that could be used for direction. Changing train direction probably accounts for 90% or more of my screen taps. I would like the button to be on the side of the case, as opposed to the face, so I could press it with fingers of the same hand that is holding the HC while my other hand is busy with a skewer uncoupling cars. That way I could work an entire trick without ever taking my eyes off the train.

I suppose a second button for horn/whistle would be nice too for you sound guys. I don't use sound so a single button would suffice for me.
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nodcc4me

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Re: Touch Screens vs. Knobs & Buttons
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2017, 06:47:47 PM »
I prefer the touch screen, although I like Alan's idea for direction buttons on the sides. I don't think there is enough room on the surface of the controller to add tactile buttons and still be able to perform all the functions currently available. The screen would have to be made smaller to make room for those buttons, and that would make it harder to see. I can just about make out the current buttons without glasses.  ::)
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Michael Larson

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Re: Touch Screens vs. Knobs & Buttons
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2017, 09:03:35 PM »
I was thinking about rotating the screen to portrait orientation making the controller a bit narrower.  Put a 4x4 grid of tactile buttons below that, and the knob at the bottom, elongating the height of the controller.  I love the idea of the direction switch on the side.  Just throwing out a vision of how it might work.

My problem is that my right index finger doesn't always reliably engage a touch screen, including the iPhone I am using right now.  Not sure why.  Other digits have greater success but of course are not the easiest for me to use.  In particular is the lower left button on the screen which typically actuates the horn/whistle.  After the frustration of from four to eight failures, I break down and use my thumb.

But my original post was just an inquiry as to how others feel about it, and I thank you guys for chiming in.  Very interesting perspectives.

Michael
Michael Larson
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Re: Touch Screens vs. Knobs & Buttons
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2017, 08:35:03 AM »
I could see a use in a horn button; for sound users that would be the most used button (I don't count the bell as a sound, I count it as annoying. Sorry.) but if a button was provided for that, or for Alan's on the on the side direction button which side of centre of the HC would you put them on? While I could use the HC one handed in either hand quite comfortably and by that I mean it wouldn't feel "wrong" and I could perform the same finger functions equally as well many others out there would not have the dexterity to use it in their off hand if the buttons were on the wrong side for them.

I wonder if anyone's done any sort of study of how many hands are usually used to operate a throttle in a sample and when used one handed which hand is the most commonly used.

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William Brillinger

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Re: Touch Screens vs. Knobs & Buttons
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2017, 09:08:58 AM »
Being able to choose which side of the screen the direction button is on has been on our wishlist for some time.

For most users it would be more convenient to have it on the left side, then you can have Direction in the top left corner, Horn in the bottom left corner and Bell above the Horn.

In theory this would make one handed operation possible.

If you ask me, I can't tell you.
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MtRR75

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Re: Touch Screens vs. Knobs & Buttons
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2017, 09:55:59 AM »
My problem is that my right index finger doesn't always reliably engage a touch screen, including the iPhone I am using right now.  Not sure why.  Other digits have greater success but of course are not the easiest for me to use.  In particular is the lower left button on the screen which typically actuates the horn/whistle.  After the frustration of from four to eight failures, I break down and use my thumb.

Michael

I have the same problem as you.  I have reduced circulation to my hands.  My fingers are cold most of the time -- even in the summer.  This also leads to less sensitivity in my fingers.  I have often wondered if my touch screen problems are related to my circulation problems.

I saw somewhere (maybe on an earlier post  on this forum) where the poster recommended using a Q-tip to tap the screen.  I find that very useful, especially on the button settings screen, where the buttons are small and jammed together.

William Brillinger

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Re: Touch Screens vs. Knobs & Buttons
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2017, 11:28:07 AM »
I have a variety of lengths of skewer that I use for uncoupling, I find I like them to be about 4 to 5 inches long.

I round off the flat end of the skewers and use them to tap the screen, they work very very well for me.
- Bill

Modeling the BNML in HO Scale, and owner of Precision Design Co.


Viper

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Re: Touch Screens vs. Knobs & Buttons
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2017, 11:49:58 AM »
I have a variety of lengths of skewer that I use for uncoupling, I find I like them to be about 4 to 5 inches long.

I round off the flat end of the skewers and use them to tap the screen, they work very very well for me.

They now make ink pens with little rubber nubs at the bottom which i fine very handy with smart phones tablets and Railpro controller  touch screen

darryl.trains

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Re: Touch Screens vs. Knobs & Buttons
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2017, 07:33:25 PM »
Hmmm, after a little thought I have come up with an idea. A button to turn on-off the hand held, possibly near the top as not to accidentally get bumped and cause a problem. Actually a button could be somewhere else too but this would be my preference.
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« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 01:32:36 PM by darryl1936 »