Computerized kiosks are now a common sight in museums, banks, train stations, convenience stores, and many other places. They provide a simple tool that increases customer convenience and reduces the staff workload. Because of advancements in the broadband and wireless infrastructure, more and more services can be provided through kiosks. For example, you can now check train timetables, buy sports tickets, or develop film through a kiosk. Most vendors select the Windows operating system for their kiosks, because its ubiquity and large market presence make it easy to obtain a software or hardware turnkey solution.  

Because kiosks are used by everyday consumers, a user-friendly interface is an essential requirement of a successful system. Windows 7’s new multi-touch feature has the potential to make the kiosk user experience even simpler than before. Touchscreens are not new technology and multi-touch is already used in many applications. Windows 7's multi-touch builds on this technology by providing a standard platform for multi-touch to developers. Different hardware vendors can all develop their own touchscreens using different technology, and software vendors can all develop their individual custom applications, and as long as everyone follows Microsoft's multi-touch API then all these components will work well together.

Compared to conventional touch technology, multi-touch allows more than one on-screen contact at a time. This allows the addition of several useful gestures, many of which are included in Windows 7. For example, in a photo printing kiosk, the user can use two fingers to pinch together or apart to control zoom, or twist them to rotate. These gestures can streamline the customer’s user experience and create more natural interactions with computers than a traditional keyboard or single touch input.


With Windows 7’s launch adding multi-touch integration with the OS and continued growth in the kiosk field, more and more multi-touch applications will be developed. On the hardware side, touchscreen vendors will need to develop products that support multi-touch and pass WHQL certification, in order to conform with Microsoft’s design standards for accuracy, performance, and jitter correction. The vendors will also need to consider the application environment: touchscreens deployed outdoors need to withstand the exposure to extreme temperatures and humidity in order to prevent costly maintenance. In addition, software developers need to come up with creative and intuitive implementations of multi-touch technology to stand out from the many similar designs that will be based on the Windows 7 API.

It is important for the entire kiosk system to obtain WHQL certification to ensure the performance and quality of the system. This includes the peripherals, which are a frequent root cause of system crashes. Peripherals with WHQL-certified drivers provided by a third party vendor will improve the stability of your system and simplify maintenance.

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