As the world attempts to navigate the current pandemic, there is a level of unparalleled uncertainty and consumer interest in non-touch gestures will increase during and after it concludes, says research firm Strategy Analytics.

Consumer behavior is changing in key ways, according to a new report from its User Experience Strategies Service (UXS) that examines the likely long-term impact of the pandemic on consumer human-machine interface (HMI) preferences.

With primary concern relating to interfaces on public devices such as ATMs and petrol stations, convenience will likely be deprioritized in favor of safety, privacy, and cleanliness, it concludes.

A new report from at Strategy Analytics has examined the likely long-term impact of the pandemic on consumer human-machine interface (HMI) preferences.

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Key report findings reveal that:

  • Public touchscreens in contexts such as shared vehicles, rental cars, commercial kiosks etc., could become less desirable if consumers view them as health risks.
  • Redesigning of terminals or screen hardware, to incorporate automated sanitary measures: for example, automated screen cleaning or replacing a screen protector after every use, could lessen public concern when using high frequency public touch points
  • Removal of touchscreens altogether, in favor of a touchless interaction such as voice or gestures could also work to mitigate public safety fears.

“Consumer interest in non-touch gestures will certainly increase during the pandemic and likely afterwards,” said Chris Schreiner, the firm’s director of syndicated research and report author. “Unfortunately, the state of both voice and gestural interfaces in addition to the noisy environments in which these devices are often located make it very premature to expect that they can take the place of a touchscreen and hard controls.”

Kevin Nolan, vice president of Strategy Analytics User Experience Innovation Practice (UXIP), added that “while digital assistants are certainly improving and voice is already trending to become the dominant HMI, there needs to be an even greater focus on improvement of their usefulness, accuracy, and robustness.”

Paul Barker