14th December 2009 / Tom Quarry
Industry research by Kiosk Marketplace has produced a key White Paper on how businesses can get the most out of their kiosks, looking at touch screen technology from the customer's perspective.
Here in part two, we'll look at five more key ideas that have emanated directly from consumer feedback.
In some kiosk uses such as healthcare, it is critical that other customers cannot see the kiosk screen. However, there are a number of reasons why privacy is important even for everyday uses. People don’t like being watched, particularly if they are trying out something new, and customers don’t want to feel judged if they make a mistake. However, a recent trend has been to place ever-larger screens on kiosks.
To maintain privacy, screens must be kept small, preferably less than 12 inches.
Sometimes kiosks make use of a question and answer session in order to identify a product which satisfies a customer need. This makes an implicit assumption that the customer knows exactly how to answer the questions, but it is more likely that the customer will not know how to answer, and simply abandon the session, sometimes after as few as three screens.
The kiosk is there to support the customer, not the other way around. The kiosk must provide results almost immediately to satisfy the human desire for instant gratification.
3. Just looking…
The common kiosk browsing experience is very clumsy; each page only contains a small number of products, so the customer must click from page to page, taking time and leading to frustration.
An alternative is to display multiple products on a single page in conjunction with an effective scrolling mechanism. Even though trackballs and mice can be used, they are difficult to control standing up, and can actually make the problem worse. Thumbwheels are a good alternative. ‘Thumbing’ through products this way allows visual comparison of many different images. This is particularly valuable when color and style are major product features
Standard kiosk searches require the customer to type in a query and wait for the results. Misspelling and over-qualification often produce no results, or too many results.
So, list results in real time as the query is typed. As the query becomes more specific, the number of results reduces. For example, someone searching for an egg roll recipe would:
– Type in the word “egg,” resulting in all items containing eggs being listed
– As the word “roll” is typed, the list would change to only display recipes for egg rolls
A graphic of each result also can be provided to help identify the results. Searching should be phonetic rather than based on exact spellings to allow for errors.
Don't bring the website instore
Running an existing website on a kiosk in a retail store is a poor choice for many reasons, including:
– Websites are designed for someone who is sitting down with a mouse and keyboard. A kiosk is designed for someone
who is standing up interacting with a touchscreen.
– Websites have many small buttons which are impossible to use with a touchscreen. This is particularly acute with the use of underlined text on the web to represent links.
– Websites make extensive use of “hover over” technology, which is not supported by kiosk touchscreens.
– Websites have information which is not appropriate for in-store use.
– Websites make extensive use of “cookies” to identify user behavior. This does not work when there are multiple users on a single kiosk.
– Any data entered by a user into a kiosk must be deleted after an appropriate timeout. Data to be deleted includes browsing patterns as well as identifiers such as name and address.
So many changes must be made to make a website appropriate for in-store use that it is often easier to start again and develop a solution that is tailored to the kiosk.