Robust computing

Touch interface A street interface seen in Marseilles, France the other day. Located in a very crowded and touristic area, and aimed at informing visitors, the specification that lead to this device certainly put a super strong emphasis on the firm and protected quality of the material. What is even more intriguing is the verticality of the keyboard with extra-large touch-keys.

In an era where public things are punched and molested, new design constraints call for new solutions. And it's often robustness that is perceived as the main possibility. See also the following example with the metal keyboard found at UBS in Switzerland:


Why do I blog this? observing current design constraints and solutions people have put in place, wondering about how, down the road, people use the vertical keyboard up there. The UBS bank machine is maybe slightly more usable though. Isn't there a trade-off between the robustness of the device and its potential usability?