Kiosk masquerading as interactive display

Posted: January 14, 2010 in creative, inspire, user experience, user interface, ux for content

One early morning this week I stopped by my local office supply store (a store that rhymes with shtaples) to pick up a few needed items for my current to-do list.

I noticed a young-ish couple at the end of an aisle with puzzled looks on their faces, pressing the corners of a video screen mounted above what seemed to be, from a distance, a printer display. I edged closer, intrigued by their confusion. Now, I’m not one who normally enjoys office supply store voyeurism, but my interest is always piqued when I see interactive in store advertising. So of course, I had to watch.

Once they walked away bewildered (and not purchasing said product) I headed over to check out the display myself. Sure enough, it had the appearance of an interactive kiosk. However, it was NOT an interactive kiosk. Just a video display. Icons on each corner of the screen gave the impression that one could go “home”, “print”, “go forward” or “go backward”. Pressing on the “buttons” did nothing. Except make that couple very confused. And embarrassed.

See a video of the kiosk here.

What supported this assumption of interactivity? Perhaps the fact that this advertising was for HP’s new web printer – where you can print directly from the web without being connected to a computer in any way. Why wouldn’t such a high tech product be supported by an interactive kiosk? Had I not watched the couple before me be fooled by the usability (or lack thereof), I probably would have reacted the same way my first time at the kiosk.

Most customers don’t like to feel fooled, or feel LIKE fools. I know I don’t. I can guarantee I will not have a second go at any experience that leaves me feeling negative. So if you are going to create advertising that even remotely has the appearance of being interactive, you better make sure that it is. Otherwise, provide content in the form of print support so that customers know that the kiosk is a video only display. In this day and age, people have come to expect a rock solid ad campaign for high tech products (thanks a LOT, Apple) so you either need to give the customers what they want, or quit trying to fake them out.

What’s the lesson? If it’s going to look like a duck, and sound like a duck, make sure it’s a duck. Otherwise the brand just might get goosed.

***

Interactive kiosks are becoming more and more common these days, drawing in users with interactivity. Here’s an example of an interactive kiosk display that works well:

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Comments
  1. Fred Lebhart says:

    I just sw one of these in person and it was incredible, def made me do a double-take!

  2. Thanks Fred. The Samsung Interactive Coke machine is quite incredible. I haven’t had the pleasure of using it myself yet, but am looking forward to seeing much of this type of interactive advertising in the the future. Too bad HP didn’t produce something more interactive for their web printer. It would have just made sense.

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