Friday, 30 May 2014

Self-service can work!

In the latest blog in our series relating to self service we look at a library kiosk.

One of the libraries we use has a self service kiosk called smartserve 400 (

It's a revelation!
  • The on screen instructions are easy to read and follow and include clear and helpful graphics to illustrate them
  • The space where you wave or swipe your books to borrow or return them is a breeze to use. There is no need to hold the book in any specific position or for a specific part of it to make contact with an element of the kiosk
  • The machine provides helpful prompts to make sure you follow the right process and don't miss something out (a refreshing change from the machines in supermarkets that have flashing red beacons to tell you and everyone around you that you have done something wrong)

The user experience has clearly been the focus of the design of this self service kiosk. The result is an interface that puts the user at ease and guides them smoothly through the process instead of being a source of stress. 

We're not hear to promote one product over others but when you see something that works we want to learn from it.  We hope to see similar thinking going into self service for other environments soon.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

The end of glass skyscrapers?

An article on the BBC news magazine this week raised the question of whether the architectural profession is turning against designing buildings with vast amounts of glass.

Certainly we've always found in our interiors work that there is great value in delivering daylight to all users of a building.  There are challenges in controlling it of course.  And the comments of Ken Shuttleworth raise some valid questions about the environmental impact of floor to ceiling glazing and how we heat and cool buildings.

From the perspective of the building users, we guess that the desire for a view and for daylight will always be strong and therefore need to be paramount.  We hope those clever engineers can come up with more sustainable ways to meet these needs!

Labels: , ,

Monday, 12 May 2014

Is the answer to better experiences about tech or people...or both?

We were recently reading a blog about reducing the pain of the taxi queue at airports as another component of improving the elusive passenger experience.

The solution offered in the blog (coming from a tech company) was live information on waiting times. Such an approach could have the added benefit of feeding data back to the taxi companies so they could alter their services in response.

Is this the answer? It would seem that tech could remove that well known source of human frustration, not knowing how long something like a queue is going to take.

But it struck us that this is not the only source of frustration and stress. At many airports, passengers also get worked up about understanding how the queue is being managed, will their taxi get nicked when the get near the front, etc. Often the solution for all of this is about the management of the people.  Good people.  When done well, it removes this stress by the passengers understanding the process, seeing that there is going to be fairness and control, etc.

We think the important message for airports is the answer is probably both...don't make the mistake of thinking that the tech solution replaces the people. In this case, the tech can help with waiting time information and it can help ensure a good feed of taxis to avoid the situation in the photo above. But it won't help with the other parts of what passengers "experience" in the line. This still needs good people to provide a human face to the process, to interact with the passengers, to help control behaviours that go against the rules, etc.

Labels: , , , ,