Ever since my brother and I started the company building and maintaining interactive self-service networks, we put a strong emphasis on providing a unique and quality product design. We provide a lot of public-use products, so we always asked ourselves if our design choices could stand out in a crowd. When we first started looking for a manufacturer, we were at first extremely disconcerted, because almost every kiosk manufacturer had at least one, if not more, kiosk models that looked virtually the same.
To this day, those same models exist across countless kiosk websites. The three basic designs I'm referring to are:
- The slab;
- The curved slab; and,
- The slanted slab.
They're pretty self-explanatory right? I think if you pulled up a kiosk website right now, you'd all be able to fit many of the kiosk designs into one of these three categories. As a more mature kiosk based company, the problem still exists for me: I don't want to buy something that every kiosk manufacturer on a Google search result has listed in their product portfolio.
Going into 2013, I believe the interactive digital industry is poised for growth more than ever before, but these tired and old designs that have been around for more than 10 years need to be changed and updated to help spur creativity.
I realize that there are custom kiosks out there that look different and unique, but at an incredibly steep price and therefore done for very specialized projects and large companies. In order for the industry to grow at a faster rate, the cost of some of these more unique designs needs to come down. Honestly, unless I'm a first-time buyer of kiosks and with no knowledge on how to how to properly deploy a successful public interactive network, I am never going to buy any of the generic slab kiosks.
What began as an attractive, inspiring design 10 years ago isn't quite the eye-catcher anymore. I don't think it's practical to move too far away from some type of slab design, but innovation on that design is key. Looking to a company like Apple and their signature iPhone is a perfect example. The same basic shape and dimension of the iPhone stays the same from year-to-year, but the design gets changed annually to make it look more modern and attractive. I think we all need to take a look at kiosk design and see how we can institute a similar philosophy to keep our hardware looking attractive.
What do you all think? In addition to hardware design, what other types of changes do you think we need to see in 2013 and beyond to see continued growth in the industry? I'll include the ideas in a future blog.
Since 2004, Ionescu has built a proprietary software/hardware package for state tourism and hotels. Ionescu believes successful kiosk networks are built upon ongoing collaboration between the client and provider to develop flexible systems that clients and users are happy with for years.