What You Should Know about Touchscreens in Light of COVID-19
Touchscreen display technology has become a major component of both our personal and professional lives. In fact, this technology is so well integrated into most of our activities that we rarely even pay attention to it anymore—that is, until the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Now, consumers and business owners alike are hyper aware not only of their surroundings, but also of the surfaces they’re coming into contact with. In response to these very valid concerns, businesses have implemented government-mandated protocols to keep their workplaces clean and sanitary while ensuring the health and safety of their customers and employees.
In addition to requiring people to cover their faces and providing PPE for their employees, businesses have also modified the use of touchscreen displays, which are feared to be a breeding ground for bacterial transmission.
With that in mind, here are some important things you should know about how businesses are actively minimizing the risk of transmission when it comes to touchscreen usage in the workplace.
Using Reliable Touchscreens
Bacteria tend to be attracted to and live within the nooks and crannies of various types of technology. Modern technological displays help to offset and even combat this issue as a direct result of their unique and innovative designs. By integrating full-fledged flat and smooth interfaces into newer touchscreen displays, tech designers can help mitigate the spread of viral infections such as COVID-19 and also make it easier to implement strong hygiene practices within public spaces. Flat screens with smooth edges eliminate potential breeding grounds for harmful bacteria and they’re also far easier to disinfect with sanitary wipes or microfiber cloths.
Concerns over Hygiene and Cleanliness
The most common uses of touchscreen technology in public places include:
- Cellphones and tablets
- Self-checkout kiosks
- Banking ATMs
- Point of Sale (POS) systems
- Self-serve kiosks at fast food restaurants
More recently, touchscreens have also been integrated into modern gaming devices and even voting machines in large metropolitan areas. Given the fact that numerous people can potentially come into contact with these devices on a daily basis, it’s understandable that there are legitimate concerns regarding their cleanliness. Hence, businesses are taking extra precautionary measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by carefully sanitizing these displays after each use.
Even before the pandemic started, there were valid evidence-based concerns for the potential of viral transmissions from using public touchscreens. Various studies over the years have indicated that public touchscreens are a potential breeding ground for bacteria such as E.coli. Some of them even contain remnants of fecal matter most likely from customers not properly washing their hands after using the bathroom.
While these concerns are legitimate, there’s still an argument to be made in favour of using more touchscreen displays in public places
Touchscreen Display Technology Encourages More Physical Distancing
It’s one thing to ask people to stay six feet apart and apply floor decals that indicate where people should stand when waiting to pay for their items in line. Most people will loosely adhere to these recommendations in stores. But when you physically place pay stations or kiosks exactly six feet apart and don’t give customers any other payment options, they literally have no choice but to adhere to physical distancing protocols in your store.
A More Sanitary Alternative to Traditional Buttons
Amidst the lockdown period of the pandemic, more and more businesses were prohibiting the use of cash in favour of debit and credit cards. Depending on the purchase total, this allowed a significant number of people to simply tap their cards without ever having to physically touch the kiosk or number pad. Cashiers and customer care employees then sanitize the machines after each use. Even though businesses are starting to accept cash payments again, most customers have become increasingly conditioned to only using contactless payment methods.
How to Safely Use Touchscreen Display Technology in Public
As a business owner or manager, there are several health and safety protocols you can and should implement to ensure that touchscreens are being used as safely as possible.
As mentioned, you should delegate certain staff members to thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing each touchscreen kiosk after each customer use. In the absence of customer usage, you should also implement a consistent sanitation and cleaning schedule to further reduce the risk of bacterial transmissions.
If feasible, older machines with crevices that allow bacteria to live on them long-term should be replaced as it’s impossible to guarantee complete sanitation of these devices.
Plastic and rubber buttons typically attract and trap a significant amount of dust, dirt, allergens, and bacteria. Therefore, they should be replaced with digital fixed function keys that allow users to only touch the screen surface because that can easily be wiped down after each use.
Additionally, you should make every effort to educate your customers about the proper way to use touchscreens at your business. Put up signs to discourage them from using the same gloves they used to shop and touch items in your store for using the touchscreens as this can increase the risk of cross-contamination. You should also ask customers to discard their disposable gloves and face masks in the proper waste bins after each transaction.
Textured displays should only be reserved for customers with certain disabilities such as visual impairments. This will minimize their usage along with the risk of spreading COVID-19.
In some instances, you can and should also encourage customers to thoroughly wipe down machines and sanitize their hands before and after each use. In addition to having employees sanitize kiosks, this will increase the hygiene factor and reduce the risk of transmission even more.
Need more tips on making touchscreen display technology safer for your business? Nauticomp Inc. is at the forefront of creating revolutionary antibacterial touchscreen display technology that can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses. Our custom displays are designed for a wide range of applications across numerous industries including grocery, restaurants, medical facilities, as well as military and marines operations. Contact us today to learn more or to place an order.