When product designers are developing a new design and button controls are required there is usually a discussion about whether to use a membrane switch or touchscreen control. Each option has benefits and situations where they’ll fit best. There are a few considerations that often come up in decision making conversations.
Control Device Considerations
Durability – Membrane switches are designed to last. At Telamco we test every product. They are sealed and solidly manufactured. Touchscreens can sometimes be viewed as a more fragile option with a glass surface that can become scratched or cracked.
Cost – Compared to touch screens and other mechanical keypads, membrane switches are an economical choice. At this point, the complexity in touchscreen design makes them a more expensive option. Also, at Telamco our ability to offer small quantities is often appealing to companies and designer looking to make a small run of items.
Cleaning – The smoothness and design of membrane switches make them easy to clean. Add HeatSeal® technology to the mix and you have a hermetically sealed switch. Touchscreens also have a small surface that can be easy to clean. The touchscreen surface is normally glass which can be scratched, cracked if not handled carefully during cleaning.
User Experience – While both membrane switches and touchscreens can provide a positive user experience. It is best to think about how your product will be used, so that a particular use is applied to your decision. Membrane switches are often preferred if the user will be wearing gloves for ease of use. While a retail store application may have a preference to a touchscreen.
Design Capability – Both membrane switches and touchscreens have unique design capabilities. Design engineers are very creative with their approach to functionality and can often make either option work if needed. A membrane switch can offer some additional flexibility with a very thin, often flexible profile. While touchscreens are more ridgid and their thickness can make them harder to integrate into a design.
Membrane switches offer many benefits to a product design. When you’re working on a plan consider both control options. We work with designers considering these options all the time. If you have questions, reach out to us. Lets talk through your ideas. If a membrane switch solution isn’t the right answer, don’t worry, we’re not afraid to tell you. You need to end up with a product that meets your demands and expectations.Ask us your questions!