Description / Illustration of Experience:
Touch screens are fairly common in just about every business, store or place of transaction. Oftentimes they can look just like ordinary computer monitors or TV screens but have touch screen capabilities. This particular time I was at a movie theater and in front of the Ticket Clerk there is a large monitor that displays showtimes and when the time comes it also displays a view of which seats are available for that theater. I assumed that it was a touchscreen and proceeded to spend the next 5 minutes furiously jabbing the screen trying to select my seat. It was only after a long while of frustration the guy working the counter told me that it was not a touchscreen and that I had to tell him which seat I wanted. I was more than confused that he allowed it to go on that long.
Design Process: AEIOU
Activities- Selecting a seat at the movies, determining touchscreen from non-touchscreen, looking foolish, purchasing any good or service.
Environments- Movie Theaters, Banks, Grocery Stores.
Interactions- Viewing the screen to determine ideal seat placement, touching the screen to indicate seat selection, verbally relaying seat selection.
Objects- TV monitor, plastic cover over TV Monitor, pointing device (finger).
User- Whoever would be selecting their seat, any user that may be purchasing something from a store experiencing a similar situation, essentially anyone who will go to the movies or make a purchase or view information on a monitor.
There is a two pronged plan to correcting this problem. The first is through human interaction and the second takes a slight “technological” approach. I am sure that the guy working the ticket counter was getting a good laugh from watching me attempt to select a seat so I imagine that is why he allowed it to go on for as long as it did. However I propose that the person working the ticket counter monitor the area more vigilantly to alert customers that the screen is in fact NOT a touchscreen. I also think that when it comes time to select a seat the ticket counter worker should use a predetermined phrase to reduce the risk of something like this happening. I propose: “Please view this monitor and let me know which seat you would like to select” or “This screen is not a touch screen, please let me know which seat you would like”.
Part two is to make a label on the perimeter of the monitor that states that it is not a touchscreen monitor. Even a small strip of paper would be perfect to correct this problem.
I also feel like putting the monitor at a distance that is out of reach of the customer would alleviate this problem. It does not have to be so far away that someone would have to squint at it, but far enough away that it would feel awkward interacting with it. I would say giving the counter worker a screen that he controls but can swivel to show you.
Challenges of designing for myself:
I honestly hate designing solutions based around what I would do, because I tend to take the most difficult approach and seem to think that it is straightforward. When designing for this solution I looked at the most basic things that I could to ensure that everyone would be able to make sense of the situation as quickly as possible. I had a few ideas that made it to the drawing board and then had to be thrown out due to them being overly complicated. I had thought of scrolling text on the screen that stated it was not a touchscreen. While this is doable it takes more time than placing the screen in a different location or just taping a sign next to it. I also thought about putting a glass case around the monitor, and while this would work it too seems like a bit of overkill for such a minor problem. I finally settled on my above conclusions because they seem easy to implement, straightforward and practical. There is also the problem of information. Information about a system, or situation that I take for granted may not come as intuitively to other people and that tends to make my solutions more complicated than they need to be. While searching for a solution I also began to question my own sanity and ability to use designs that have already been put in place. I realized that I did not see anyone else struggle to use the screen and relay the information and I wondered if I was a member of a tiny screen smashing minority that just did not understand how the world works. I found that even though I was designing for myself, I was able to recognize how weird I can be and tried to design for others, but that consciously made me think about designing for myself and the loop continues.