Gorilla Arm


Gorilla Arm is a term used to describe the fatigue and discomfort experienced by users when interacting with vertical touchscreens or touch interfaces for an extended period. This awkward position of constantly lifting and extending the arm to interact with the screen can lead to soreness and muscle strain. The term originates from the visual similarity of a user’s extended arm to that of a gorilla’s long, dangling limbs.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Gorilla Arm” is: /ɡəˈrɪlə ɑrm/

Key Takeaways

  1. Gorilla Arm Syndrome refers to the fatigue and discomfort experienced by users when interacting with vertical touchscreens for prolonged periods.
  2. This phenomenon occurs due to the unnatural posture and strain placed on the shoulders, neck, and arm muscles, as they remain suspended in the air for extended durations.
  3. Designers should consider ergonomics and alternative interaction methods, such as voice control or different screen positions, to help reduce the risks and discomfort associated with Gorilla Arm Syndrome.


The term “Gorilla Arm” is important in the technology industry as it highlights a significant ergonomic issue associated with prolonged use of touch screen interfaces, particularly in vertical orientations.

It refers to the fatigue and discomfort users experience in their arms, shoulders, and neck when they have to hold their arms outstretched for extended periods while interacting with touchscreens.

This phenomenon is a vital consideration for designers and developers in creating user-friendly interfaces and devices.

By being aware of the Gorilla Arm concept, designers can optimize their products to minimize physical strain on users, enhance user experience, and promote the practical and efficient use of touch screen technology across various applications.


Gorilla Arm refers to a phenomenon frequently experienced by users of touch screen technology, particularly those utilizing vertical touch screen interfaces. The problem arises when these touch screen applications require extensive arm movement over a long period of time.

As users continue to interact with these devices, they may experience discomfort and fatigue in their arms, which could become similar to the way a gorilla’s arm appears – heavy and uncomfortable. This term serves as a caution for designers and developers to consider the ergonomic aspects of user interaction in order to avoid potential concerns for the users.

The purpose behind acknowledging Gorilla Arm as an issue is to increase awareness about the importance of user experience and ergonomics. By understanding the discomfort and issues users might face with vertical touch screens, designers and developers are encouraged to look for alternative solutions, making the devices more user-friendly and efficient.

As technology evolves, touch screen interfaces are finding their way into various industries, including automotive, retail, and healthcare. By focusing on reducing the occurrence of Gorilla Arm syndrome, developers can enhance the overall user experience while maintaining the convenience and functionality that touch screen technology provides.

Examples of Gorilla Arm

Microsoft’s Surface Hub: Microsoft’s Surface Hub is an interactive whiteboard primarily designed for business and collaborative meetings. The large touch screen device allows multiple users to interact with the screen simultaneously. In extended usage of this device, it’s quite possible for users to experience the ‘Gorilla Arm’ phenomenon, as they may be required to hold their arms outstretched for extended periods during the interactive sessions.

Retail and restaurant self-service kiosks: Self-service touch screen kiosks have become popular in various sectors, including retail and restaurant businesses. Customers typically interact with these kiosks by extending their arms and touching the screen to place orders, navigate options, or complete transactions. This can lead to feelings of fatigue and discomfort, which are characteristic of the ‘Gorilla Arm’ phenomenon.

Interactive museum exhibits: Many modern museums now incorporate large interactive touch screen displays as part of their exhibits. Visitors often use these screens to explore the displayed content or to access more information about the exhibits. Prolonged usage of these interactive screens can also expose visitors to the ‘Gorilla Arm’ effect due to the constant stretching and reaching involved in operating these devices.

Frequently Asked Questions about Gorilla Arm

What is Gorilla Arm?

Gorilla Arm is a term that refers to the fatigue and discomfort experienced by users of touch screen devices when using them for an extended period. This condition occurs due to prolonged elevation and extension of the arm, which leads to strain on the muscles and tendons.

What causes Gorilla Arm?

Gorilla Arm is caused by prolonged and repetitive use of touch screen devices, especially when the user’s arm is extended away from their body. This position puts undue strain on the muscles and tendons, leading to discomfort and fatigue over time.

How can Gorilla Arm be prevented?

To prevent Gorilla Arm, users should take regular breaks from using touch screen devices and avoid extended periods of use. Additionally, ergonomically designed workstations and devices can help minimize strain by encouraging a more natural, comfortable posture while using touch screens.

Is Gorilla Arm a common problem?

As touch screen devices become more prevalent, Gorilla Arm has become an increasingly common issue. However, with proper ergonomic practices and awareness of the risks, users can minimize their chances of experiencing Gorilla Arm.

Are there any long-term effects of Gorilla Arm?

If not addressed, Gorilla Arm can lead to persistent pain, discomfort, and potential injury. It is important to take precautions to minimize the risk, such as implementing ergonomic practices, taking breaks, and seeking medical attention if symptoms persist.

Related Technology Terms

  • Touchscreen fatigue
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Ergonomics
  • Vertical touchscreens
  • Gesture-based interfaces

Sources for More Information


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