Designing for Touchscreen Interfaces

Designing for Touchscreen Interfaces

In today’s world, almost everyone has a touchscreen device, whether it’s a smartphone, a tablet or even a laptop. These devices have revolutionized the way we interact with technology, but they have also changed the way we design interfaces. Designing for touchscreen interfaces is not the same as designing for traditional desktop applications or websites. In this article, we’ll explore some of the key considerations for designing effective touchscreen interfaces.

1. Size and Placement of Touch Targets

When designing for touchscreen interfaces, it’s important to keep in mind that users will be interacting with your designs using their fingers. Unlike a mouse or a keyboard, fingers are imprecise and vary in size. As a result, touch targets should be larger and placed farther apart than they normally would be in a traditional desktop interface.

A good rule of thumb is to make touch targets at least 44 x 44 pixels in size. This ensures that they are large enough to be accurately tapped by most people’s fingers. Additionally, avoid placing touch targets too close to each other, or users may accidentally tap the wrong one.

2. Simplify Navigation

As users interact with touchscreen devices using their fingers, the gesture-based navigation comes into play. When designing for touch, it’s important to keep things simple and intuitive. Instead of complex navigation structures, opt for a simple and easily understandable interface. Refine your layout and minimize the number of steps it takes for users to get to the results they need.

Adding navigation buttons, such as “back” and “home” buttons, will make navigation easier. Users should be able to get to key areas of your interface without having to perform complex gestures. Keep it simple, and avoid adding clutter to the interface.

3. Incorporate Gestures

Gestures are a key part of touch interfaces. Think of gestures like tapping, swiping, pinching, rotating, and dragging. Gestures are efficient, easy and familiar ways to interact with touchscreen devices.

It’s necessary to include these gestures in your designs where appropriate. However, it’s important to make sure that users don’t have to perform too many gestures in order to achieve their goal. The important thing to remember here is to make it natural.

4. Use Contrast to Make Content Pop

With touchscreens also comes the need for high-contrast visual design. The use of color contrast not only helps users with visibility and readability issues but it also can add some dynamism to your design. You can use contrasting colors to make important content elements more visible, increasing the likelihood that users will tap or interact with them.

However, keep in mind that high contrast can create visual noise too, which can be overwhelming. Only use contrast to highlight important elements, and use it sparingly but effectively in your interface design.

5. Responsive Design for Multiple Screen Sizes

We live in a world where touch devices come in many different shapes and sizes. This can make designing for touchscreens more challenging — if your interface is not responsive, it may not display properly on certain devices.

The solution is to design responsively from the very beginning. Design interfaces that can easily adapt to different screen sizes and resolutions. Avoid using fixed widths and breakpoints to ensure design consistency across devices.


As touch screens continue to become more prevalent, it’s important to keep in mind the design principles that make a touch screen interface successful. User experience is crucial when it comes to retaining existing users and attracting new ones. So, it makes sense to adopt these tips for designing effective touch screen interfaces. Remember to prioritize user convenience, maximize the use of gestures, and simplify navigation to create interfaces that people will love.