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Designing for a ‘touch-free world’: Touchless interactivity, haptics and changing user interfaces during COVID-19

Date: 5 November 2020 10:00 - 5 November 2020 11:30

Join Digital Catapult’s upcoming masterclass with Ocean Outdoor and Ultraleap – exploring how immersive design and haptics technology can enable businesses to adapt to changing user attitudes, towards touchscreen interfaces as we prepare and design for a “touchfree world”.

COVID-19 has driven hyper-awareness of possible implications of touchable surfaces, resulting in behaviour and attitude changes. 88% of people think of touchscreens as unhygienic and as a result this has led to a brand new challenge for millions of businesses relying on touch such as: airport screens, museum interaction, ATMs, fast food ordering, machine controls, and hospital equipment. How do you design contactless, self service interfaces suitable for future users and experiences?

71% of consumers in the UK said they expect to interact with touchless technologies, such as gesture interfaces, in the future. In restaurants, would-be UK diners said they would prefer touchless gesture ordering instead of making orders across a counter, or to use mobile apps, instead of using touchscreens. ”Touch-free” experiences will comprise a clever mix of tracking, haptics and voice to facilitate interactions.

These opinions are not unprecedented, as 2009 research conducted on London’s public transport network and a public space in a hospital revealed that over 60% of touch surfaces had high levels of bacterial contamination. Coupled with the evidence from the spread of COVID-19, much more needs to be done regarding the cleanliness of British public spaces going forward in order to establish public trust in touchscreens.

However, designing for touchfree user interfaces is a challenge in itself. This masterclass will hear from Digital Catapult’s Senior Immersive Experience Design Researcher, Aki Jarvinen, with guest speakers from industry, as they explore the design implications of creating interfaces for safer public spaces.

Who should attend

This online masterclass is ideal for airports, retail enterprises, museums, cinemas, train operators, and other public facing organisations interested in understanding how to adapt to changing user attitudes and behaviours towards self-service and public touch technology interfaces.

Why attend

This masterclass will provide an introduction and deeper understanding into how to prepare for a “touch-free” world using immersive design, haptics, and contactless interactivity.

We’ll cover:

  • Hand tracking and “touch-free” interfaces for contactless interactivity
  • How to think about user interface design for gesture recognition in a “touch-free” world
  • How user journeys will be affected when designing for future interfaces
  • How Digital Catapult can help business to address these challenges


Catherine Morgan, Director of Ocean Labs, Ocean Outdoor
Aki Järvinen, Senior Experience Researcher, Digital Catapult
Matt Corrall, Design Director, Ultraleap
Emily Savage, Product Lead – Immersive, Digital Catapult

How to get involved?

To join this masterclass, please register interest below.