Sense was rebuilt from the ground up to have a modern interface, and mobile was at the heart of that. The touchscreen interface was a key part of that design. However, with most laptops now having touchscreens Sense did not distinguish between a tablet and a laptop. Until now.
The Two (Inter)Faces of Sense
If you switch between different devices when using Qlik Sense you may have noticed that there are two different styles of menu when interacting with chart objects. One of these is for touchscreen devices, the other for non-touch devices. The two styles are shown here:
Here you can see that the left-hand image is better suited to a tablet, with space between the buttons (and a funky look). The right hand menu has more detail and more items, without having to use the ellipsis. Having the interfaces designed specifically for the target device is a neat feature. There is a flip side to this though.
Sense Touchscreen Frustrations
The issue with this approach is that not all touchscreen devices are tablets or phones. Many laptops are now touchscreen enabled and can be used in normal mode, tablet mode or even to drive an array of monitors. Sense currently sees the touchscreen and delivers up the touch-enabled Sense UI. Some might say this is not a big deal, as the touch UI is fresh and clear. It does however hide some functionality. For instance on a touch device you can not (yet) hover your finger over an object and have it respond. This means that there is no hover functionality in the Sense touch UI, even if you are using a mouse on your laptop. This means that you miss out on these features:
This is annoying, as it means you have to click objects to see the pop-ups and the simple act of expanding an object is a number of clicks.
It is not the thing that causes me the most frustration though. Have you ever seen this in one of your tables or list boxes?
This serves a purpose on a tablet device, preventing a device with (typically) much less memory and processor from consuming too much data in one go. It makes no sense when you have invested in a powerful laptop to have the same thing happen. It took me a while to work out what was going on, and why when using RDP to access a Sense Hub things worked fine, but when on my laptop things worked much less well. It seems I was not alone in my frustrations.
How To Fix This
Looking around on Qlik Community I found a number of other frustrated individuals. Surely here I would find a way to get my laptop behaving as it should with Sense? QlikView handles this very elegantly, assuming touch-enabled mode until your first mouse-click when it then switches to desktop mode.
Amazingly the best solution I came across was going into the hardware settings in Windows and disabling the touchscreen drivers. Something that I have done for a number of demos, but not something I was happy with as a permanent solution. If you want to use this solution please see this thread and link to Gysbert’s Tweet on the topic:
The lack of functionality is something that I, and I am sure others, have raised with Qlik and a solution is on the horizon. That is unless you are a Qlik Cloud user – in which case it is here already.
The toggle is there and works a treat. The feature should roll out into Enterprise and Desktop at some point in a future release, hopefully in the September release.
This is a great example of why doing some work in Qlik Cloud is a great idea. It’s updated on a rolling basis, with new features appearing as soon as they are signed off by Qlik’s testing, often well before they find their way into a proper release. This means it is good for getting a glimpse into the future and also for testing apps ahead of upgrading. Qlik Cloud Basic is completely free to use, and the low-cost upgrade to Sense Cloud for Business makes it a totally viable solution for small to medium sized teams with modest data volumes.
It’s really good news for everyone that uses Qlik software that Sense keeps getting better. For me, this toggle to disable touchscreen functionality is something I have been waiting on for quite some time.