Bixly is just about to wrap up a software development project for a payment processing kiosk, and with that we wanted to take some time to reflect on what made this project a success. Andrew Savala, Bixly COO, has over a decade of experience in kiosks which brought these insights to the fore. There are two specific elements to our project planning that set us off on the right foot and they are something you should keep in mind, too, when planning your next piece of software for kiosks.
Know All the Hardware
During our discovery phase we made sure that we knew all the hardware that was at play before we got started. In this case, the kiosks integrated a Windows mini PC, a card reader, a bill acceptor, and a receipt printer. It’s important to know the exact models for all of these pieces of equipment before you get started. It’s a common mistake to get two months into development only to realize you made a critical mistake in your tech stack because it won’t work with your credit card reader. This has the potential to blow up your budget and timeline. You may even have to re-do all your hard work in a new programming language because you neglected to ask a simple question about hardware.
Develop Your User Flow Screens
When outlining your feature set, using simple wireframes to visualize the user flow is extremely helpful. Start with the ideal path you imagine your user experiencing at your kiosk. What is the first screen that grabs their attention? What information do they need to input and in what order in order to complete the process?
From there it’s important to consider divergent paths and potential problems. What if multiple items in your database lookup have the same or similar names? How will user distinguish them? If a user needs to interact with payment, as ours did, what kinds of payment will you accept? How much time will you give the user to retrieve their credit card or cash? How will you distinguish them taking that action from them walking away or just being distracted? What options will you provide for a receipt? If a user does walk away, what then?
Oftentimes outlining the ideal pathway is the easiest You generally know exactly what a successful interaction with your kiosk looks like. You know what you want the user to experience. But it’s also important to account for those scenarios when the user acts in ways that are atypical or less than ideal.
By stepping through these scenarios with wireframes, we were able to define all of the features before we got started. That means we could give our client an exact timeline and budget for their project. And then we delivered. We often see these as the two primary areas where a project can get completely derailed, so be sure to do the proper planning before you start writing code!
If you want to leverage our expertise on your kiosk project, don’t hesitate to reach out! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are ready to make your next project a success!