How kiosk applications differ from websites

March 26, 2012 | by Natsumi Nakamura

In the previous two posts, we discussed the two key factors of kiosk software development - an attractive user interface and a seamless integration process. Ideally, an organization should allot most of the software development resources to those factors in order to maximize a return on its kiosk investment.

However, in reality there are several challenges organizations have to deal with during kiosk application development. To understand these challenges, we need to explain how a kiosk application and a regular website differ.

The user experience

When browsing a website, customers can sit comfortably in front of a computer at home or in the office and have a mouse to navigate through the pages.

Users have a very different experience at a kiosk. When browsing a kiosk application, users are standing with the screen at eye level. Sometimes users may feel pressure if there are other people lining up behind them, so they move quickly. Instead of a mouse, users are using their fingers to navigate through the various touchscreen panels.

To address these factors, the kiosk user interface should be simple and easy to navigate. For more detail, see our previous post which details how this can be done.

Security issues

For a website, the responsibility of protection comes down to the corresponding web system and the data transaction process. If the server and the transactions are protected then the entire system should be secure.

When a kiosk system is deployed, in addition to the central server and data transaction, each kiosk must also be protected. Kiosks are often in unsupervised locations, requiring more security measures for sufficient protection. We will discuss kiosk security in more detail in a future blog post here, so stay tuned!


A kiosk manager needs to be sure that customers have access to the most up-to-date content from any kiosk. The easiest solution for this is to make the kiosk application Web-based and manage all the content from a central system. Another option for managing content is to develop a content distribution system or purchase one from a third party.

Device settings

Unlike a Web system that involves only the customer's Web browser, a kiosk system has to control various kiosk I/O devices such as printer, magnetic card reader, and barcode reader. This can be very challenging because a kiosk’s I/O device control requires experience and expertise. We will be discussing this further in a post coming soon.

Natsumi Nakamura / Natsumi Nakamura is in charge of the product marketing for kiosk hardware and software solutions at PFU Systems. She has also played a critical role in hardware/software development as well as business development for several kiosk projects.
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