Barbara Krasnoff: When I first saw the touch-screen computers being shown during the introduction of Windows 8, I was a little leery myself. Like you, I'm a longtime desktop/laptop user, and I'm extremely keyboard-centric (perhaps because I cut my first computer-user teeth on DOS systems).
However, I took a touch-capable ultrabook (an Acer Aspire S7) to CES this year, and while I typed away, I found myself using the touch screen rather than the mouse a lot more than I thought I would. It was a quicker and, quite honestly, more intuitive way to select a new tab, push an onscreen button or even place the cursor. And it was much easier for me than using the touchpad on the keyboard -- even when I was working in the Desktop interface (which was most of the time).
I admit that sometimes I had to go to the mouse for more detailed movements -- as when I needed to drop the cursor between two letters within a word -- but for the most part, pointing and touching (rather than pointing and clicking) became the norm.
I found myself using the touch screen rather than the mouse a lot more than I thought I would. Barbara Krasnoff
PG: Every time you move your hand from your keyboard, mouse or touchpad to your screen you're interrupting your workflow and train of thought. You're spending far more time on simple tasks than you need to.
BK: How long has it been since moving your hand from your keyboard was an interruption? We've been using mice for a long time, but I remember when many computer users preferred to memorize long lists of keyboard shortcuts rather than have to move a hand from the keyboard to the mouse and back again.
As for the touchpad, I've always found it a less-than-useful replacement for a mouse. While long use has allowed me to reach for a mouse without having to look for it (partly because my hand can fit itself to the form factor), a touchpad means I have to move my hand off the keypad itself and readapt to a small, highly inconvenient square below the keyboard.
In addition, most touchpads are so sensitive that I am constantly moving the cursor to a place where I don't want it to be, or accidentally opening/closing tabs or applications. Talk about workflow interruptions! Touchpads are my enemy as far as that's concerned.
Which is why I found using a touch screen so handy during CES. Rather than have to grope for the touchpad every time I needed to access the cursor, I could just touch the image I was looking at without pulling my gaze from the screen; I then replaced my hand on the keyboard and continued working.
It felt natural to just point to what I wanted to do -- and do it. Barbara Krasnoff