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  • 08.27.08

Simplicity of Kiosk Interface Design

Design is an interesting thing because it is so subjective. Everyone has an opinion on design, what they like, what they prefer, even if they don’t understand what drives their opinions. Sometimes kiosk interface design can become very complex, hard to navigate, and frankly too much to look at. Often simple is better. Better because it is easy for the viewer to understand the purpose, and easier for their eyes to focus on important content. Design can often set the mood, visually simple design can set a calming mood and affect the user’s experience.

Design is an interesting thing because it is so subjective. Everyone has an opinion on design, what they like, what they prefer, even if they don’t understand what drives their opinions. Sometimes kiosk interface design can become very complex, hard to navigate, and frankly too much to look at. Often simple is better. Better because it is easy for the viewer to understand the purpose, and easier for their eyes to focus on important content.

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Design can often set the mood, visually simple design can set a calming mood and affect the user’s experience. Busy designs or designs with heavy animation can often create a sense of high energy and can be good for kiosks with a multimedia or entertainment purpose. But either way, design should be strategic with the goals and the user in mind. If budget allows, do focus groups or A/B testing to see which designs provide the desired results or actions by the guests.

Just be careful of the dreaded “design by committee” which is when multiple people within a corporate setting feel they have to interject their own design ideas, and in the end you get a Frankenstein design, which is often poor. Trust talented design professionals who went to school for design and know how to effectively engage. Just be sure to give them all of the strategic goals up front so they can consider them when conceiving the designs. While I’m not a good designer myself, I did attend art college and know how the creative process works (I ended up in photography). I have also managed interactive teams with design agencies for nearly 10 years for major brands, and know both the account executive side of things as well as the designer or producer side of things. Give a good designer the right information, and you’ll be happy with the results.

As you know, with this Blog I often reference kiosks I see out in the real world, and the image shown here is from a local Verizon Wireless store near my home. I took the images with a camera phone so please excuse the quality. This check-in kiosk is simple in design, which makes it easy to understand and the guest can quickly perform the task at hand. Branding is consistent with VZW’s other corporate material and onscreen media. Our company has done mobile marketing kiosks for Verizon Wireless and while the design is a bit more creative on our project, you would still visually tie the two together in regards to branding.

The purpose of this kiosk was to quickly get the patrons to the store into a queue for service. The store is always busy, and they find it to be most effective to get them into the system and then allow them to wander the store until their name is called or posted on digital signage in the store. This prevents them from standing in a physical line, when they could be exploring new phones, accessories and making impulse purchases. It was pretty effective and made the process clear.

More images of the interface are available on my Flickr account here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21792517@N02/2176776060/ along with other retail examples. The photos show the hardware, as well as the onscreen interface to allow guest to self serve and get checked in.

Check-in kiosks are a common form of self service. We have developed check in kiosks for an American Express sponsored event where guests registered online before the event, and checked in at the kiosks once at the event. They confirmed their information and registered for the door prize at the kiosks. They also filled out a short survey that enabled us to gather yet more demographics and learn more about them. Amex and other sponsors had onscreen branding and expo information. The beauty of this type of setup is that it allows you to measure attendance, build your profiles of your guests for remarketing purposes later, provide automated sweepstakes winners on site, and more. All done electronically, not by hand and by paper, thus speeding up the time for turn around of data for data mining, removing double keying and lowering error rates.

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Check in kiosks can take many shapes, event check-in, hotel check-in, or retail check-in such as this example above. How might your company use check-in kiosks? Comment below and share your experiences.