I often see touch screen problems when coaching folks on their iPad or smart phone.  This often leads to frustration, so I like to make a few recommendations at the beginning of a session.

Common Touch Screen Problems and Their Solutions

Tapping the screen too quickly.

“Tap” is the term most people use when describing a touch to the screen.  To most people new to touch devices, this sounds like a very quick touch, and sometimes a quick “hard” touch.  I find that many people having trouble with their touch screen are tapping too quickly.

I generally describe this motion as a “soft touch” rather than a “tap” in my coaching sessions.  This helps most people make better contact with the screen.  The touch should last a second or so, which seems longer than a tap to most people.

Touching the edge of the screen

I’ve noticed several of my older clients accidentally touching the edge of their screen with one of the fingers other than their pointer finger.  I suspect that this is related to arthritis and/or reduced flexibility in the fingers.  As they reach towards the screen, the back of their middle or ring finger will touch the screen.  This can cause problems like closing the keyboard or moving the screen.

I recommend that people with this problem lift their hand a little higher above the screen when reaching to make a tap.  Once folks are aware of this problem, they often stop making the accidental contact.

Tapping with Fingernails instead of Finger Tips

This isn’t limited to women with longer nails.  Many people associate tapping with touching their fingernail to a surface.  Others think of pointing directly at icons on the screen, so they point with their fingernail first.  The capacitive touchscreen on modern devices requires contact with the fleshy tip of the finger in order to register contact.

I recommend that folks think about how they would leave a fingerprint.  That’s the type of contact that is needed.  I also suggest that they listen when touching the screen.  If they actually hear a tap, chances are that they are touching the screen with their fingernails.

If you are having trouble with your touchscreen or are helping someone learn how to use a touchscreen, try some of these ideas.  Hopefully you find them helpful.

Technology Coaching

Maybe you don’t need help with your device, but maybe someone you know does.  We offer coaching for folks new to personal technology like iPads, iPhones, Android Phones, and other touch-enabled devices.  If you know someone who needs some help, have them sign up for a coaching session today.