Interactive kiosks: What's the best way to deliver information?
Let's discuss how kiosk usability can be designed to best assist shoppers researching inventory.
In our previous article, we focused on how in-store shoppers regard technology. Basically, they see interactive kiosks and other store devices as sources of information.
Now, we're going to discuss how kiosk usability can be designed to best assist shoppers researching inventory. That means being able to find specific product data without having to use too much thinking-power. The user experience should be uninterrupted and logical. For instance, if a person at a car dealership wants to read reviews on a sedan equipped with Wi-Fi, visible queues must intuitively guide him or her to the appropriate screen.
"When multiple icons appear, people require a lot of mental energy to process them."
How we physically look for information
To determine what makes a kiosk easy to navigate, it's important to examine people's eye movements. One particular company, SensoMotoric Instruments, provided its eye tracking glasses to help usability consultancy Agentur Siegmund GmbH determine how individuals interacted with touch-based visual displays, providing them with public transit information.
The 16 study participants were asked to find out how to arrive at a specific station using Cologne, Germany's transportation system. When using the touch screen, members of the focus group were asked to express themselves verbally, allowing the researchers to identify positive and negative reactions, expectations, needs and other elements.
The study's findings
After the research was completed, the analysts discovered the following negative aspects of the interactive kiosk's design:
- Home screen clustered with icons: Although it may seem as if you're accommodating shoppers by displaying 20 mid-sized items that will lead them to different features, this isn't a best practice. Why? Processing one image takes a small amount of mental effort. However, when multiple icons are shown, a person requires more time to fully understand the meaning behind each one.
- The icons were difficult to register: When people viewed icons, they made an extra effort to read the written descriptions beneath them as the icons themselves were not clear. As one can imagine, this can incite frustration and may cause users to abandon kiosks altogether. Remember, to the average consumer, touch-based technology is (or should be) easy to work with.
- Essential areas weren't acknowledged: The center of the interactive map received the most attention from users, as opposed to the search box that would direct them to specific stations. This behavior points to certain aspects of the layout dominating the digital kiosk. If necessary icons or functions are not easy to find, it can cause disruptions in the user experience.
How does your interactive display measure up?
Know your audience
Keep in mind that the study scrutinized the usability of a very specific kiosk - one that's designed to accommodate commuters who most likely want to create travel plans in less than 30 seconds. However, there are some key takeaways that are applicable to nearly every retailer.
First, figure out how you want the interactive kiosk to deliver customer experiences. Then, conduct field research: Understand the target audience's needs, desires and expectations. From there, design and blueprint the user interface with findings from the former two steps in mind. After this step is complete, you can test the solution's flow and usability. Any further revisions to the UI are implemented based on whether or not the solution is satisfying the objectives defined at the beginning of the endeavor.