I didn't watch Voyager much, and never saw that episode, but this is extremely disappointing. The ST:TNG Technical Manual (which came out before VOY) clearly addressed this issue, way way back in the early 90s. You can actually feel touchscreen controls, because they have miniature force fields/tractor beams that provide the same tactile sensation you get with mechanical controls. Didn't the writers of VOY ever read the TNG Tech Manual?
It's of course even more disappointing that a sci-fi TV show in the 80s/90s was able to address this important HMI issue in a book meant just for geeky fans, yet 25 years later people in the industry still don't get it. Of course, we don't have tractor beams or force fields to implement what they wrote about in the tech manual, but it does show the show's technical consultants were thinking about and aware of this issue back then, 15 years before slate-style smartphones were even invented, and that maybe we should not be using touchscreens for certain controls until we do have force fields or some other workaround.
>and I mean HATED the touch screen when it came to virtual potentiometers (one operator got up and walked away saying "this screen is a fucking piece of shit")
That operator was correct. Virtual potentiometers on a touchscreen are a horrible idea and miserable to use.
Nope, in fact they were expressly prohibited from writing about the technology. In the scripts, instead of doing their built-world-homework and writing that coherently into the story, they just had to put "[TECH]" in to the scripts. Then the technical consistency editors came along and filled that stuff in. Not even kidding. This led to some of the really disastrous (IMO) early scenes in Voyager such as one where two characters (Cpt. Janeway and B'Elanna, iirc) are bonding while solving an crisis technical issue... and the dialogue is a total hash because it was "co-written" using a completely insane method.