Interactive Touchscreens for Engineering Firms: How to Get Started

Are you curious about the process involved in developing an interactive touchscreen for your business?

If you’re looking for a better way to create that WOW factor and visually tell your story whilst providing an immersive and persuasive experience for your customers then an interactive touchscreen can be a great way to engage and impress.

According to a recent survey from DemandGen Report, 91% of B2B buyers now say they prefer to consume interactive and visual content to static content. And since we now find ourselves in the experience economy, providing engaging interactive experiences is no longer just a key strategy – it’s fast becoming imperative.

A touchscreen experience can be particularly effective for engineering firms who have complex products, solutions and processes, and need to explain them in a visual, easy-to-understand and intuitive way, especially when dealing with non-technical customers.

TIP: Find out more about how engineering firms can use touchscreens to provide immersive, interactive user experiences at their next event.

As an interactive design studio who specialise in creating unique, engaging and memorable interactive experiences, we understand that there’s a lot to think about when developing your first interactive touchscreen experience.

That’s precisely why we’re going to outline how to start and what are some of the considerations.

Ask yourself why you need a touchscreen?

Touchscreens aren’t just something engineering firms invest in so they can look innovative (okay, maybe that’s part of it); they also need to serve a business purpose.

Perhaps you’re looking to stand out at a meeting or event, create an innovative experience for your visitors, or create a more immersive and engaging way for people to explore your brand, content and ideas. You may be looking for ways to WOW people with your products or solutions and tell a more interesting story to engage with your employees, partners or visitors.

From a business perspective is it about creating an impression for your brand, increasing customer engagement, capturing customer details or increasing sales?

Whatever you need an interactive touchscreen for, we’d recommend sitting down with some key decision makers and talking through your business goals for an interactive, what are you actually trying to achieve with one and what would success look like?.

It’s also especially important to get the people who will be using the interactive on-board early on, so they can understand how it can benefit them and how they’ll be able to use it when talking to potential customers.

The bottom line is that an interactive touchscreen is an investment (both in time and money), so you should establish why you need one and what it can help you accomplish before deciding if it’s the right solution for you.

TIP: If there are a lot of decision-makers to convince, doing this may also help you secure management buy-in for your touchscreen experience.

Set some S.M.A.R.T goals

Once you’ve firmly established why your company needs an interactive touchscreen, your next step is to set some goals to work towards.

These goals should be S.M.A.R.T:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

Perhaps you’re looking to bring in a set number of qualified leads by capturing the contact details of the people who interact with your experience at a specific event, or you need to increase your sales revenue by a specific amount over the next 6 – 12 months.

At the same time, you could be gleaning valuable insights from the way people are interacting with your touchscreen, such as tracking which content happens to be the most popular. This data can prove invaluable when developing future content or marketing activities.

TIP: When thinking about your goals, don’t forget to align them with the goals of your customers – after all, without their participation, your touchscreen experience is meaningless. Consider who they are, what they care about, what they’d like to take away from the experience, and how they like to interact with technology.

Carefully explore all your options

Before jumping into creating an interactive touchscreen experience, it’s important to review all your options and explore what might be possible for your engineering firm. Interactive touchscreens hold a world of possibilities, with so many features and functions the only limit is your imagination.

Some of these features might be better than others when it comes to achieving your goals – so, if you’re not yet aware of what might be possible, now’s your chance to do some research and find out. You may get some great inspiration from looking at examples of other interactive touchscreen experiences online or looking at case studies.

TIP: We’ve put together an article to help you when starting to explore your options for an interactive touchscreen experience – we hope you find it helpful!

One thing we would say? Focus on the experience itself, and how you want your customers to feel when interacting with your touchscreen and what they should do after – rather than putting too much thought into the hardware side of things to begin with.

For instance, do you want to create an immersive experience or space that will pull in a crowd and really encourage people to start interacting? Perhaps your experience should interact with other objects or lighting in the room, or feature gamification elements.

Would you prefer to let users interact with the touchscreen on their own, or would it be more effective for a salesperson or company rep to guide users through the experience? There’s simply so much to think about, as every touchscreen experience is unique and should be tailored to your audience – and your own goals.

Work out a budget

Hopefully, at this stage in the thought process, your ideas are starting to take a little more shape – and if everyone’s on-board and convinced there’s the possibility of seeing a positive ROI from your efforts, it may be time to start thinking about your budget.

It’s important to remember that interactive touchscreens are quite an investment but the benefits can be considerable. So, we’d advise you to not focus too much on the cost of the hardware and skimp on the software – after all, the software/experience is the most important element.

Let’s put it this way; if you don’t have an intuitive, user-friendly experience that’s fun to use, and tailored exactly for your audience, then having an impressive touch wall, touch table or stand won’t make much of a difference.

On average, the cost of developing an interactive touchscreen experience (not including the hardware) will most likely start at around £7,500 excluding the hardware.

TIP: We’ve gone into a lot more detail in our recent blog post: ‘How Much Should an Interactive Touchscreen Experience Cost?‘. This should give you a better idea of how much other companies are roughly spending on interactive experiences.

Approach some interactive design agencies

If you’ve got all of the above sussed out – or even if you don’t and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all – it could be time to take the next big step and get some advice from an interactive design agency. We’d recommend speaking to two or three, actually, and getting a good feel for which approach you like best.

An experienced, knowledgeable design agency should be happy to listen to your goals and objectives, answer any questions you might have, and also ask all the right questions in order to get a much better understanding of the type of experience you need to create for your customers.

They’ll also be able to provide you with some great, invaluable advice – even if you don’t decide to go ahead.

Here are just some of the things you should find out from your chosen agency before making any decisions:

  1. The level of experience they have when it comes to developing interactive solutions for businesses
  2. Whether they specialise in developing interactive experiences rather than just hardware
  3. The steps or process involved in creating your interactive touchscreen experience
  4. How much (even if just a ballpark figure) you can roughly expect to spend on a touchscreen solution
  5. Whether you can look at some case studies or previous examples of their work
  6. How long it might take to fully develop and test your touchscreen experience
  7. Whether they have their own in-house design team and the relevant user experience (UX) skills
  8. If there’s a way your interactive touchscreen content can be modified and updated for future use
  9. What they’ll need from you in order to deliver the end result
  10. Whether your interactive touchscreen experience will be bespoke to your brand

Because an interactive touchscreen experience is usually quite a big leap for engineering firms to take, we highly recommend you find out as many answers to these questions as possible before taking that all-important first step with an agency.

In fact, in order to help our own customers, we’ve already answered quite a lot of these questions on our own blog. But that shouldn’t stop you from asking other agencies how they do things – as the answers are bound to differ depending on who you speak to.

TIP: We’ve put together 5 steps to finding the best interactive touchscreen developer for your project– we hope this will help!

Advice from the touchscreen specialists

If an interactive touchscreen experience could be an option you want to discuss further, and you’ve thought carefully about all of the above, we’d urge you to get in touch with an interactive design agency as opposed to a software/web developer, or someone who only specialises in hardware.

Why? Because the most important element of an interactive touchscreen is the experience itself. Interactive experiences are also really quite different from creating a website or smartphone app – it must be engaging, intuitive and fun to use, with plenty of opportunities for interaction and they have their own design considerations.

If you find an agency you like, ask to see some examples of their work, and talk to them about some of the things we’ve mentioned above. They should listen to your needs, and help establish your main goals and objectives, by asking you all the right questions.

We tend to view this as one of the most vital stages we go through with our clients, as many of them aren’t fully aware of the possibilities and the different elements that could really shape their experience.

In summary

So, now you’ve started to delve into the world of interactive touchscreens, what do you think? We hope you’re feeling a bit excited about all the possibilities out there – and not too overwhelmed! It can feel like a lot to take in on first glance.

Don’t worry if all of the above sounds a bit daunting, though. A good interactive design agency should be happy to listen and understand your main objections, before talking you through all of your options and answer any questions you might have.

Would you like to know more about your options when it comes to developing an interactive touchscreen for your engineering firm? Simply get in touch using the contact form below – we’d love to hear from you!

Damjan Haylor
Managing Director

damjan@popcomms.com

 

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