TouchInform: what is it? Quick tour of the application.

TouchInform is multipurpose yet easy-to-use software to create Your interactive projects “from the ground up” directly targeted at client’s requirements and business sphere peculiarities. It is specially designed for touch-kiosks and Interactive Digital Signage.

TouchInform application is a powerful means for developing not just simple projects, but highly detailed scenarios, to inform about current and upcoming events, to display documents, photo and video content – and all that without programming!

TouchInform is composed of two separate components:

  • Editor
  • Player

There are 2 Versions of the application available:

TouchInform Master – an easy tool, designed for use by even the most non-technical of users and TouchInform Expert – a powerful tool, designed for advanced users. (For more information see the article: What is the difference between TouchInform: Master and TouchInform: Expert?)

 

TouchInform software components: Editor and Player

TouchInform Editor is the authoring tool for information systems creating

TouchInform Editor is the authoring tool for you to create projects, fill in and easily edit the structure of interactive information system without special programming skills.

With Editor you can easily:

  • develop your own projects with optional content, interactive internal logic and extensive configuration options thanks to a large collection of properties;
  • use any asset type – from graphical (geometric figures, lines, buttons) and multimedia elements (videos, images, sounds); through text objects, documents, running lines, browser windows, templates and forms; to galleries and collections, external and internal data sources;
  • import any content;
  • select design options – colours, fonts, items’ appearance and geometry;
  • add navigation functionality;
  • use an extensive library with numerous triggers and actions making your project dynamic;
  • create highly detailed scenarios through asset binding – and all that without programming!

Please note that at every stage of project creation and designing you can run it in Player to see the result of your latest modifications.

What’s more, there is no limit to the number of interactive projects you can create with TouchInform application!

 

TouchInform Player is a tool for publishing content to touch screen kiosks

TouchInform Player is a tool used to display interactive projects you create with Editor on touch- kiosks and IDS.

 

What are minimum hardware and software requirements to launch TouchInform application?

Hardware requirements: Processor Intel Celeron 2.4 GHz or higher, Computer data storage 2 Gb or more, video card that supports DirectX 9.0, a touch input controller that supports the Touch interface.

Software Requirements: Windows 7 Home Premium Service Pack 1 or latest modifications, .NET Framework 4.5 or higher.

 

Is project creation restricted to one language?

Of course it’s not. One of the features of TouchInform Application that deserves a special mention is multi-language user-interface. Project creation is not restricted to one language; you can easily add localization and select required language without developing separate projects or ordering complementary solutions. Moreover, you can create several independent projects within one project tree and distribute them to different kiosks.

By adding Localization the project tree is divided into several branches. Player allows switching between them using the button of language switch.

*Please note:

  • When you change the language in Player the kiosk returns to the main menu.
  • A project can have multiple Localizations. For example, three English versions, two Russian and one Ukrainian (six in all). In this case, the button of language switch will be composed of six elements to switch. Switching the language the kiosk will go to the main menu of that very Localization, the language changing button of which will be selected.

At the same time you may select and switch the Editor’s interface language in the top menu item Tools -> Options -> Project Options -> bookmark “General”.

 

What are the main advantages of TouchInform software over CMS?

Of course at first sight it may seem that use of CMS or simply website connection through Web browser is more common and convenient, not so time- or money-consuming in prospect, but that’s definitely not true. To enable a fully functional operation of Web-based solutions, you need to maintain stable broadband connection, which in turn depends on the link performance and your Internet service provider. I would also mention tamper resistance and exposure to computer viruses. 

At the same time installing our software on your touchscreen equipment you obtain not only kiosks network able to work offline without access to communication links, but also: 

  • High reliability of the application thanks to a fully compiled and tested code; 
  • Direct access to drivers and functions of the operating system with the ability to work directly with additional devices: printers, scanners, readers and in prospect with web-cameras and cash acceptors;
  • The interface optimized for touchscreen equipment, which enables use of gestures and all of the Touch & Multitouch functions with immediate response to a user request;
  • Prompt integration with the customer's internal systems over different protocols;
  • All the content stored on your kiosks or client’s servers.

 

Do I need your services to manage and update my application?

No, absolutely not!

We do not “bind” clients to our services – once you bought TouchInform and get instructed about its technical specifications, you will be able to use the application yourself! It’s Your content – Your design – Your choice – Your Project – and we keep saying that without programming or professional outside expertise.

Obtaining our full software package composed of Editor and Player you can do everything yourself as TouchInform Master is designed for use by even the most non-technical of users.

But of course we offer different options and services as well – structure development from the ground up and information input as well as high-end design creation based on your technical design specifications, on individual basis. We can quickly adjust and customize one of our turn-key solutions for you. Usually it takes from several hours to 2-3 days dependent on the content availability and the time we spend discussing all the peculiarities of the project.

What services do we offer to our clients?

We offer the following services to save your time:

  • Information input (up to 50 screens)
  • Structure and/or design modifications
  • Structure development (from the ground up)
  • High-end design creation
  • Technical design specifications development
  • Software enhancement
  • On-line training (3-4 hours)

Moreover, we can quickly adjust and customize one of our turn-key solutions for you. Usually it takes from several hours to 2-3 days dependent on the content availability and the time we spend discussing all the peculiarities of the project.

 

Can I test TouchInform application without licensing?

Yes, of course You can. Even without licensing You can use all the modules available in Editor as well as to add them to the project tree. And they will be displayed in Player, but the period of the Player’s continuous running will be limited to 30 minutes.

For the full use of the application activation (licensing) is required, which eliminates the abovementioned limitations. Editor, as well as Player, is subject to licensing. The activation procedure of both Player and Editor is described in Activation Manual.

After licensing Editor allows you to add only those modules that henceforth will be displayed in Player. The unlicensed modules in Editor are highlighted in red; there is no possibility to add them to the project tree. The unlicensed modules highlighted in red can be hidden in the general list of modules by changing the settings in Editor - "Hide unlicensed modules."

 

What is the difference between TouchInform: Master and TouchInform: Expert?

TouchInform Master is an easy tool, designed for use by even the most non-technical of users while TouchInform Expert is a powerful tool, designed for advanced users. That’s in fact the main difference. But BOTH VERSIONS of TouchInform Application DO NOT REQUIRE ANY PROGRAMMING SKILLS and enable you to create branched structures of information systems with controlled objects in form of menus, buttons, icons, graphical elements and lists; connect xps, docx, pdf and html documents; present multimedia photo and video content in form of albums, galleries, slideshows, animation; display complex graphical objects, plans and maps with navigation options and detailed description; create news blocks, running lines, show advertising content with the real-time control. It’s not a problem to get feedback from users by filling out screen forms and sending messages to e-mails as well as conducting various surveys and questionnaires. Moreover, you can make the full use of Web Browser for secure Internet access with data screening options using white and black lists.

Both TouchInform: Master and TouchInform: Expert are developed to create projects “from the ground up” directly targeted at client’s requirements and business sphere peculiarities, to inform about current and upcoming events, to display documents, photo and video content – and all that without programming!

In spite of some restrictions in the modules and projects design TouchInform Master has extensive configuration options and functionality. To make it more illustrative – working in Editor is similar to creating models with construction kits. Being easily customized the modular structure not only doesn’t impose any restrictions, but also gives you a clearer understanding of the finished product, ensuring high-speed project creation as well.

Moreover, TouchInform Master software is delivered with 3 Module Sets at the customer’s option:

  • Lite – includes 6 basic modules
  • Standard - includes 6 basic modules + 10 extension modules
  • Professional - includes all the modules of the Standard module set + Navigation, Exposition and Browser for secure Internet access

(For more information see the article: What is the difference between Module Sets of TouchInform: Master?)

 

What is the difference between Module Sets of TouchInform: Master?

“TouchInform: Master” is delivered with the following Module Sets at the customer’s option:

1) Lite Module Set – includes 6 basic modules:

  • Branched structure creation of the information system with menu(s), navigation buttons, etc.
  • Display of RTF, PDF, XPS documents, tables, pictures
  • Portrait gallery creation with the caption function included
  • Image Viewer – presentation of images both in manual and presentation mode
  • Video playback
  • Ads and news placement

2) Standard Module Set - includes 6 basic modules + 10 extension modules

  • Photo galleries creation(single tape of images)
  • Photo albums creation
  • Video albums creation (videos with a preview image)
  • Running Line with adjustable properties
  • Feedback from users including e-mailing options
  • Sending documents per e-mail
  • Documents printing (A4 format)
  • Creation and work with documents library
  • Multitouch Gallery
  • Audio Module.

3) Professional Module Set - includes all the modules of the Standard module set+

  • Light Navigation Module
  • Exposition Module
  • Web Browser for secure Internet access with data screening options using white and black lists.

*Complementary modules - which are Graphical menu, Questionnaire/Evaluation of knowledge (conduction of polls with display of quantitative and qualitative results), Advertisements - can be included in the package Standard and Professional.

 

What customized solutions based on TouchInform software do we offer?

  • Interactive Navigation systems for shopping, office and expo centers as well as sports events;
  • Interactive product catalogues;
  • Advertising billboards;
  • Interactive show-windows to promote goods and services;
  • Inquiring, data-collecting and quality assessment systems;
  • Electronic menus;
  • Business cards;
  • Electronic Recruiters;
  • Systems for personnel testing;
  • and many other information systems.

Yes, we have SOLUTION for YOUR INDUSTRY too!

 

Why TouchInform?

  • No programming skills thanks to simple intuitive interface
  • High-speed project development
  • Highly customized modular structure that enables modifications on individual basis
  • Distributed storage system for centralized information updating
  • Extensive library of design options with numerous triggers and actions
  • Every asset type support - from images and videos to documents and Web browsers
  • Large collection of properties
  • Multi-language user interface
  • Low cost price of finished product

Using TouchInform application you will:

  • Ensure free access to information resources of governmental organizations and business entities without your employees’ involvement;
  • Reduce labour costs - visitors receive all the necessary information about your company themselves;
  • Improve customer service - all the necessary information in one database in electronic form;
  • Attract new customers and increase brand loyalty through the introduction of innovative technologies;
  • Increase your Revenues - drive sales speeding up the sales cycle and reducing customer wait times.

 

How to install TouchInform application?

There are two versions of the program –pre-installed on hardware or as an installation file.

If the delivered software is not installed on hardware, you should make the installation yourself.

During the setup process the required components and the application “TouchInform” itself will be installed.

*Please note: Your antivirus software may detect some of the modules considering them as a security threat. For normal completion of the installation process, please disable the antivirus on your computer for a certain time.

When you run the software installer, you will be asked to select the language of the dialogue conducted during the installation process (options: Russian, English). Accept the license agreement, click . Then select the directory for program installation. By default C:\TouchInform (you can choose any other name, for example C:\TouchInform_Gos).

If you are installing the database server Express Edition, in next window you’ll be offered to install all components with default values or a custom installation of the components.

In case of selecting the full installation mode, all the components will be installed, including the necessary Microsoft components. This installation mode should be selected if the software is installed for the first time on the computer (on the touchscreen kiosk), click [Next]. At the end of installation click [Finish].

In case of a custom installation, you’ll have an opportunity to select all the required components in the dialogue window. You should select this installation mode if it’s not the first time of installation, in case of installing a new instance of SQL-server, new databases, reinstalling the existing databases, directory with the media files, as well as in case of a custom installation of Player and Editor or project download "on-the-fly", which was created earlier on a different computer, click [Next]. (For detailed description of all the stages of the custom installation, please click www.touchinform.com/download/InstallationManual.pdf to get TouchInform Installation Manual).

 

How to buy TouchInform application?

  1. In top menu on the website choose category Buy
  2. Select the version you want to buy (Master or Expert)
  3. Fill out the form at the bottom of the page (the required fields are marked with *) and click the “Go!” button
  4. Our team will contact you to request details about your order
  5. Make the payment either using Paypal or credit card. (Demo version doesn’t require payment)
  6. You will get an activation file with the following extension: .licensekey this very day during working hours
  7. Copy the file you received to the directory C:\TouchInform\TSRuntime\ (the location directory may be changed, if it was selected during the installation process)
  8. Launch Player and make sure there is no mark “Demo version” on the screen.

 

How can I activate TouchInform application?

  1. Please install all the components and the application itself.
  2. Start the license requestor C:\TouchInform\TSRuntime\TSKeyAsst.exe (the application location directory may be changed, if it was selected during the installation process).
  3. Please fill in the mandatory field Rightsholder - name of the company that acquired the rights for the TouchInform software use.
  4. Please fill in the mandatory field License Identification Code, which will be provided by your Retailer. Otherwise please contact the Software Producer (e-mail is provided in paragraph 6)
  5. Press the button . After generating a request, the application will ask the location to save the request file.
  6. Submit a license activation request filling the Subject field “TouchInform Activation” and e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In text of the message please specify name of the company, the rights for the product end-use will be transferred to.
  7. Please wait and you will get the file with the following extension: .licensekey.
  8. Copy the file you received to the directory C:\TouchInform\TSRuntime\ (the location directory may be changed, if it was selected during the installation process)
  9. Now you should launch Player and make sure there is no mark “Demo version” on the screen.
  10. Then check the name of company that acquired the rights for the software use in the main application window in the information about the program, clicking on the clock.
  11. The license file contains information about the system modules available for display in Player. If some of the modules aren’t available to you, please contact your Retailer.
  12. Thank you. The program is ready for continuous running.

 

What is “Project” and “Project Collections”?

The combination of the structure and the content is a "Project." In one database you may create several projects, that is why the top level in Editor is “Projects Collection”. The project tree represents a hierarchy of the interconnected modules organized as you wish. All the modules are added by the right-clicking or by moving objects in a «drug & drop» mode from the "Toolbar" to the panel "Projects’ Scheme". By the pressed button «В» in the toolbar those items that can be added at this level of the tree are displayed in bold type. By the right-clicking only those items are displayed in the shortcut menu that can be added at this level of the hierarchy.

The sequence of the items display in Player is aligned with their location in Editor.

 

What are basic principles of project structure editing and application filling?

An Interactive Project that you create using the application represents a tree, which consists of the stem (a hierarchy of modules) and leaves (the software modules). There is an internal storage of documents, images and multimedia content in the application. All elements of the storage are available for use in the relevant sections and modules. All added project items are automatically added to the internal storage.

All the logical tree objects of the project can be modified either with the help of the shortcut menu called in by the right-clicking on the selected object or by moving objects in a «drug & drop» mode from the "Toolbar" to the panel "Project Scheme" and within "the tree", or by using the buttons located in the relevant windows and panels. In all the windows and toolbars there is a possibility to search and filter the objects.

Each element of the tree has its own Properties. They are displayed in the “Properties edit” window and, as a rule, are located on the right side of the tree (the window location can be changed). To simplify the editing process all the properties are divided into Groups. You can make them visible or invisible using the button located in the name of the group. Menu of the properties edit window contains buttons for collapsing and expanding groups of the object’s properties.

When you use graphical modules, in the visual editor you can lock an element to protect it from editing. The lock icon is displayed next to the lockable element in the project tree: the lock is open - the element is editable, closed – it is protected from editing.

What Modules are responsible for building the project (“tree”) hierarchy?

There are the following modules at your disposal:

1) Main Menu Module. It is a mandatory element of the project that allows to create the top-level menu on the main screen, while menu items are modules displayed in tabs of the main screen.

If the main menu module contains only one item, buttons on the main menu screen are not displayed. When it’s impossible to display all the buttons simultaneously on the screen, scroll mode is activated and additional buttons for paging through the list of the module items are displayed.

2) Module: Menu. It allows to display a set of buttons on the screen. You can add child elements - menu items (buttons) to the module. The number of buttons on the screen corresponds to the number of added menu items.

Shape and geometry of menu buttons is set in the module design. You can specify the following properties: the number of columns buttons will be evenly distributed to, and buttons alignment (top, bottom or center).

3) Module: Advanced Menu. In contrast to the menu module in this module, you can use design templates and set any buttons’ properties starting from height to text font size. 

4) Module: Graphical Menu. It enables building menu with optional configuration and designing using graphic editor. Various graphic elements are functional buttons to enable transition from one project tree item to another. 

 

What Modules can I use to display photo content?

There are the following modules at your disposal:

1) Portrait Gallery. It is used to display images with captions. It is perfectly designed for information provision about employees and historical characters, etc. 

2) Image Viewer. It is used to display images collections of different formats. There are two modes available - manual shifting mode of images by pressing controls and automatic mode of presentation with set interval of image change.  

3) Photo Viewer. It is designed to display small images and represents a scroll bar composed of elements. The module allows to scroll images smoothly, but it requires significant computing power when you need to display a lot of images on the screen. It is not recommended to use images of more than 200 KByte. 

4) Photo album. It is the Module that displays links to several galleries on the one screen. 

5) Exposition Module. This module can be used when you need to display multiple Image Viewers on the screen corresponding to the selected element of the project tree.     

6) Multitouch Gallery. This module allows to display collection of images with multitouch functions: rotation, zoom in/out, simultaneous viewing of multiple images.

 

What document formats can I use?

Our software enables working with the most popular document formats (xps, docx, pdf, html) that can be displayed as separate files or you can create documents libraries with sections and subsections.

Furthermore, not only can you browse documents on touchscreen equipment, but also print them in A4-format or send them per e-mail selecting relevant properties in document settings. This is especially important if your clients need to have a closer look at the information you provide at home, share it or print fill-in blanks. 

 

What Modules can I use to display video content?

There are the following modules at your disposal:

1) Module: Video Viewer. It is designed to demonstrate multimedia clips of any format. Supported formats are limited only by audio and video codecs installed on the kiosk. In the module properties you can set both visibility of control elements and automatic video playback when screen is displayed.

2) Video album. This module displays a set of videos on one screen. Playback of the selected video (by clicking it) is initiated using the Module: Video Viewer. In properties of video elements you can choose an image - selected frame from the video. 

3) Exposition Module. This module can be used when you need to display video items on the screen corresponding to the selected element of the project tree.     

 

Can I get feedback from my clients/users using TouchInform application?

Yes, of course you can.

If you need to get feedback from your clients there are the following modules at your disposal – E-mail message and Questionnaire/Examiner. The first one is designed to send questions and the customers’ requests to your e-mail, while second one is aimed at conducting various polls and surveys, tests, exams, knowledge evaluation with display of quantitative and qualitative results.  

The Module: Questionnaire is designed to get answers to the set of questions identified by administrator. Questions may contain text, images or combination of text and pictures. Answers can be predetermined or include a field for optional information input. You may set to fill the required data (such as personal data or company details, etc.) before starting. Each cycle of questioning is stored in a separate file of the selected format. The file contains all the information about questions and answers, time and kiosk ID-number. At the administrator’s request survey results can be sent to the server via e-mail.

The Module: Examiner is created on the basis of Questionnaire module, but allows you to set correct answers in advance and indicate their weight assignment. 

What Modules are responsible for Navigation and Items Description?

1) Using Exposition Module you can create a mechanism for detailed description of any graphical object. As description you can use texts, graphics and videos. The list of customized solutions based on this module includes: Electronic Catalogues of goods and services; Interactive Maps of events with video records attached; Set-up structures of different institutions with staff information, contacts, professional skills; Navigation Systems for museums and galleries with detailed descriptions of halls and masterpieces. 

2) Light Navigation Module allows you to display interactive maps of shopping, office and expo centers as well as escape maps and different types of plans and schemes. Screen is randomly divided into two parts one of which displays a list of the necessary objects, while the other contains graphical presentation of objects, routes to them, etc. Shape of buttons (for a list of objects) is also highly configurable.

What Modules are responsible for display of advertising and news content?

There are the following modules at your disposal:

1) News. News screen consists of two Items Lists: a News Items List and a Sticker Items List. News Item is a brief description of the event, which, being clicked, initiates a transition to document with detailed topic overview while ads, which are displayed in Player as stickers, are short messages with no pictures. 

2) Document and News. The module displays an RTF-document and a news list on the screen. It is similar to the News Module, but contains no advertisement feed. When there is no document provided, the news feed can be maximized to the full screen size using settings. Its appearance is defined by the selected design.  

3) Running Line. The Module: Running Line is perfectly suitable for on-the-spot information provision. Its text and properties (size, colour, etc.) are highly configurable. 

 

Does TouchInform application provide possibility of integration with external systems and data sources?

Yes, of course it does. 

We use technologies which enable an easy and rapid integration with external information systems of our customers. For example, our customized solution for educational institutions includes modules to obtain data from electronic gradebooks and diaries of our partner companies.

To display content from external data sources you can make the full use of built-in Web Browser (we guarantee you secure Internet access with data screening options using white and black lists).

The module is designed to display information from web resources. Its settings are flexible enough to limit the white list of resources available for navigation, as well as to provide easy-to-use navigation controls thanks to integrated on-screen keyboard.