Kiosk Solutions Issue 19 - Page 39

software UI design for kiosk software Kiosk software design isn’t just a matter of enabling touch on your application – it’s about making sure you create the most touch-friendly UI possible By Andrew Long, Co-founder, Welcm Software – www.welcm.uk I’ve been actively hunting down touchscreen kiosks on my travels recently, and every time I see one I have a go on it. If there are other people using it already I don’t mind waiting as I get to see how people interact with it; are they getting frustrated, are they impressed, do they seem to be getting what they wanted from it. I’m not blind to how nerdy this makes me sound but, hey, user experience (UI) is my thing and this sort of research makes me better at what I do. Fortunately, if you’re reading this article the likelihood is you also keep an eye out for kiosks when you’re out and about so at least I should be in good company here! I’ve heard that being nerdy is actually cool, so perhaps checking out kiosks in our spare time makes us cool. Probably not. Anyway, I digress. Touchscreen user experience is my particular specialisation. I’ve always said that kiosk user interfaces are all too often designed like a desktop UI. Kiosk software designers regularly seem to work on the basis of the screen size when designing for a kiosk, rather than on the basis of interaction type (i.e. your fingers rather than a mouse). By that I mean they make the kiosk software look and behave like a desktop app just because the screen is desktop PC size. I love touchscreens I believe touchscreen are, by their very nature, a more intuitive way to interact than with a mouse and a cursor. Anyone who has introduced an elderly relative to an iPad having previously tried to show them how to use a PC will be able to testify to this point. As Apple’s early iPad advert stated, “You already know how to use it”. That’s a phrase that stuck with me and one that I have in mind when designing any UI. A kiosk is more often than not unattended, so users need to be able to use it without any outside instructions. For me, a piece of kiosk software is a failure if users don’t already know how to use it when they first pitch up at the kiosk. Change your outlook So, if desktop applications shouldn’t be the source of design inspiration, what should? I believe mobile design is much more similar and should be used as the basis of our thinking. Yes, the screen size of your average phone is tiny compared to a touchscreen kiosk, but the way you interact with them is identical. You see things, you touch them, stuff happens. KIOSK solutions 39