Common perils and pitfalls of kiosk design

The following lists has some common perils and pitfalls regarding the design and installation of kiosks.

1.  Planning for power, phone, Internet, and cabling hook-ups.

A good example:

This all services and connections should be easily accessible. The cable connection points clearly defined.  Computers should be on a separate circuit from the lights.  Counter holes for cabling would be pre-drilled (preferably), and at least 1 1/2 inches in diameter ( 2 1/2 inches in diameter if parallel cable connections are required).  There should be proper space to feed the cables to the right destination(s).

A poor example:

Power for the lights and all electrical peripherals were on the same circuit as the computers.  If someone turned off the showcase lights, the register and peripherals went off with them.  Reaching phone and Internet jacks required blindly reaching down through a dark hole under the counter, at an awkward angle, just to find the jacks.  There was no surge protection on any equipment. No UPS was purchased to protect the register. The registers had no pre-drilled holes for cabling.  Sliding drawers under the register were not designed to be removed, making it difficult to feed computer and power cables.

2.  Inconsistency of kiosk design between locations.

A good example:

For ease of installation, repair, and maintenance, all kiosk design should be fairly consistent between locations.  Especially as it pertains to the physical registers and peripheral hardware.  This uniformity is critical for installing new and replacement equipment.  Inconsistency makes for unnecessary work and rework.

A poor example: 

The first store kiosk register area was originally designed around the physical register equipment and it’s peripherals. There was adequate space for everything, including a little extra room.  When the second stores kiosk was built,  the kiosk design was changed, narrowing the counters and reducing the under counter space.  This meant that the equipment at the second store didn’t fit correctly. It was not "drop-in" capable. The register was not recessed.  It could easily be shoved or pulled off the counter top.

 3. Design Extremes.

Going to design extremes is not always the best course of action.  Making your Kiosk look like a UFO may distract from what you are tying to sell.  Showcase and lighting design should be focused on drawing attention to the product(s) that you are selling, and accentuating them.

Poor example #1:

It was a great idea to install rows of small movable floodlights in all of the kiosk display cabinets. This was mainly so that the staff could manually direct light on a single item or group items.  However, when the construction was done, the designers had high intensity Xenon Halogen bulbs installed (the kind used in Tactical Flashlights).  When all of the case lights were turned on, the effect was blinding, making it look like Airport landing lights. This resulted in extreme overkill, distracting from the product. The brightness was driving people away from the kiosk.  Further, this resulted in complaints from other nearby mall vendors. This brought down the wrath of the mall management.

These type of lights are power hogs. They create a fire hazard by generating enough heat to melt plastic.  They can heat nearby metal to the point that it burns when touched.

The solution here would have been:

To install standard bulbs, with combinations of individual lights or groups controlled by dimmer switches. The staff could then use these to control the light intensity.

Poor example #2:

A frosted glass enclosure was build around the three outward facing sides of the register. The glass was not inserted into a slot, but simply put into place with clear silicone caulk.  Someone leaning on the glass, or a pull from a small child, was all it took to send the glass flying.

The solution here would have been:

Use different, or sturdier, material and recess the register a little further into the counter top.

If you are unsure about your design needs for setting up a kiosk, please contact CCS Retail Systems.

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