Interactive kiosks have been around since the 1990s, when they were first used to help locate missing children. In the years since, they have evolved into performing a variety of tasks and services, including commercial, educational, informational and governmental uses. Self-service stations have always been an easy sell to the public, who often see the stations as more convenient and faster than waiting in line at a help or sales desk. As a result, the industry has exploded in just a couple decades, and they are now seen everywhere.
What makes interactive kiosks so attractive to consumers and business owners alike?
Again, consumers prefer them because they operate like familiar technology. A well-designed station provides the kind of experience that a user is primed for. In other words, anyone who spends a lot of time operating a mobile device will be able to navigate through a station’s interface in seconds. Even the most efficient human worker would have trouble matching those speeds. Some other reasons why self-service stations are so popular include:
- Aesthetic design – people are drawn to visually interesting interactive kiosks, especially when they offer information or free services. Bright colors, interesting typography and creative use of space are hard for people to ignore.
- Control over the experience – although users only have a limited set of options when interfacing with the station, they can select those options at will, giving them the feeling of being in control. This is especially noticeable when operating information stations, as people consider such experiences enriching.
- Reliability – as long as the station has not suffered a technical fault, it will generally do its job better than a human attendant, who can be distracted or confused by customer inquiries. Reliability is a major draw for commercial stations, where users can expect consistent product quality.
- Flexible business model – business owners appreciate self-service kiosks because they offer the perfect combination of low operating costs and mobility. In this way, self-service stations are similar to vending machines, but interactive kiosks offer much more robust performance metrics. The station’s owner can access the system’s backend to track revenue generation and other important metrics, like the average time a user spends at the station. And if the station is not performing as well as hoped, it can be moved to another location with minimal effort.
As user experience is essential to the long-term viability of a station, it is important that owners invest in quality audio and video technology for their stations. Crystal clear displays ensure ease of navigation, and sharp audio output promotes greater accessibility and immersion. Most importantly, though, responsive communications between the station and owner is essential, as this will allow owners to update product listings and copy with a couple keystrokes. It also gives owners the ability to monitor station performance and stability from a remote location.
Interactive kiosks will only become more popular as time goes on, and an industry that already has significant competition will get even more so in the coming years. Modern A/V technology can help an owner secure an important advantage and ensure a superior customer experience.