How Touchless User Interfaces Can Amplify the User Experience

June 20, 2022

During the initial stages of computing, developers were the users and created punch cards to give commands to mainframe computers. Once they entered their programs, they got the results back on tape or paper printouts. Then technology advanced and personal computers (PCs) with screen displays and keyboards took their place.

With the Macintosh computer, pointing devices and GUIs, or graphical user interfaces, entered the scene in 1984. Since 2007, we’ve seen a succession mobile phones and tablets with touch user interfaces. Fast forward to 2022 and we’ve been interacting with PCs through external devices such as wearable sensors, smartphones, and wireless sensors for about 30 years.

In recent years, touchless user interfaces have become a popular means of human-computer interaction.

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What Is a Touchless User Interface?

A touchless user interface (UI) lets users give commands to computing devices without touching a screen, mouse device, trackpad, or keyboard. One great example is Amazon’s Echo line of products. Users command them by saying what they need. The only task that involves people using their hands is its setup. After that, users can use the device without the use of their hands.

Touchless UIs were developed to enable hands-free usage when performing tasks such as running large machines or driving a car. The use of touchless UIs also mitigates the danger of contamination in the operating rooms of hospitals or of nursing devices.

Key Advantages of a Touchless UI

A touchless UI has an edge over devices that require touch interactions because decreasing physical contact is helpful in diverse contexts—from food-processing plants to an airport’s self-service registration kiosks. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it obvious that we need to incorporate this technology into many more apps and products.

High Speed

Many consumers want a touchless UI because it enables high-speed interactions. In certain settings, using a mouse device and a keyboard or a touch screen can be very inconvenient, which makes these input devices more inefficient.

A good use case for a touchless UI is a walk-in, deep freezer. The employees who work in them must function in temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit, so they must wear woolen jackets, gloves, and safety goggles that can fog up. Now imagine such employees needing to enter some information or view data on a computing device. They would have to step out of the deep freezer, then remove their gloves and safety goggles to use a mouse and keyboard.

Face Detection

Facial detection is a common and highly useful feature of a touchless UI. Facial detection indicates only the presence of an individual person. It is essentially different from facial recognition because, although the device can detect that a user is in close proximity to it, it can’t establish who that person is by identifying his or her face.

Basically, facial detection requires a camera that is continually turned on and supplies a nonstop video stream. The enabling software continually attempts to discover the presence or absence of a user in the frame. Facial detection doesn’t require a high-quality camera to determine the presence of a user’s face. A black-and-white camera with low or medium resolution would be sufficient because image quality isn’t important. The device can detect the presence of a face in black and white.

Touchless UIs for SaaS

The use of touchless UIs is common for avatars, biometrics, security, animojis, and social media. Here are some specific use cases for touchless UIs for SaaS (Software as a Service) applications.

Retail Businesses

Touchless UIs can be very useful for retail shops, stores, or in any other business setting. They enable users such as customer-service professionals to serve their customers better, make recommendations to them, or persuade them to purchase something.

Information Projects

Another example of a touchless UI is the sort of booth or stall that you might see at airports or in other public locations. These kiosks can enable a user to obtain important details about a locality, flights, or tickets.

Contactless Access Control

The use of touchless UIs is common for IoT (Internet of Things) devices, enabling users to communicate with a device and use it without pressing any buttons.

Simulation-Based Training

A simulation training system (STS) is a special class of device. In STS, the device simulates a situation and tells the user the procedure for interacting with it.

What Technologies Enable a Touchless UI?

The following are some technologies that are useful in developing a touchless UI.


You can use infrared technology in either a new gadget or an old one whose design needs updating. A mobile-app development company could develop a solution draft that can attain your company’s objectives and deliver great outcomes.

NLP, or Natural Language Processing

This technology helps people manage their devices and enter data by saying commands into a microphone. Prominent examples include Alexa, Siri, and Google Home. Most of these devices include a microphone and Bluetooth headsets are cheap, so there are no hardware issues. But, today, many voice assistants rely on AI (artificial intelligence), whose algorithms require extensive testing.


Previously, people commonly used pin numbers, passcodes, or user names and passwords to identify themselves. Now, touchless biometrics have become more prevalent. Some examples of these are iris scanning and facial recognition.

Near-Field Communication

Near-field communication (NFC) employs short-range, energy-efficient wireless signals to send messages from one device to another. Significant examples are Samsung Pay and Apple Pay. Plus, several banks have developed apps that use NFC to facilitate touchless use of ATMs (automated teller machines).

Although most mobile applications are NFC-enabled, you can’t use NFC if another device with which you need to communicate doesn’t implement this technology. Manufacturers might need to add custom hardware parts.

Radio-Frequency ID

A radio-frequency ID (RFID) tag is a small, encoded microchip that identifies products in retail shops, objects, a person, or a pet and uses radio waves to convey a data signal to an RFID reader device at a distance. This technology is handy for inventory regulation and monitoring. It can also be useful when a user needs to detect and track physical items or pets. However, training and testing their algorithms can be costly and time consuming and may also require expertise in NLP technology.


To fulfill users’ expectations for a touchless UI, mobile-app developers must understand consumers’ requirements. This might sound easy, but can be challenging in practice. To be able to enhance the user experience of a mobile app by providing a touchless UI, app developers must first acquire expertise in touchless technologies. 

SEO Executive at Digital Gravity

Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan

Abdul BasitAbdul is an enthusiastic digital-marketing specialist. He loves to examine upcoming social-media trends with his colleagues. Recently, he has been working in the Digital Marketing department at Digital Gravity, an innovative Web-design company in Dubai. His knack for continuous learning has contributed to his holding his current position at such a well-established digital-marketing agency. Abdul is a highly accomplished digital-marketing expert.  Read More

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