Style vs practicality: Key components of kiosk design
With a good meal, half of the experience is determined by the presentation of the food. The same principle can be applied to kiosk design. Mainly, how does one find the balance between style and practical usage of valuable retail space?
Some kiosk manufacturers specialize in large-format touchscreens, such as RedyRef Interactive Kiosks, whereas others specialize in tablet kiosks, such as Heckler Design, but they both have to find a balance between style and practicality.
"Today, tablet kiosk designs typically fall into two categories: pipe and base or monolith," Heckler Design founder Dean Heckler said. "Pipe-and-base designs are often an uninspiring and flimsy combination of thin steel tubing attached to a circular or square base made of cheap medium-density fiberboard, thin steel or plastic.
"Monolith designs feature a simple tower of thin sheet metal, with a hole cut out for the tablet screen," Heckler said. "Monolith designs have an uncomfortably high center of gravity and a bulky appearance, which doesn’t fit into certain environments like museums, galleries or car shows as they detract from the subject matter."
In addition to these problems, according to Heckler, monolith kiosks also tend to be fairly expensive at $5,000 to $10,000 each.
So, Heckler Design tries to address these problems by creating a kiosk solution that is both aesthetically pleasing and simple to operate. It's tried to achieve both these ends with its WindFall Kiosk.
Features include a sculptural, tapered and modern design, the company said, as well as the capability to fit virtually any tablet. It also is anchored with a 17-pound, half-inch steel base with three points of floor contact to ensure stability.
"Rather than a gangly neck or obtrusive stanchion, it features a tapered neck jutting forth from a stable three-point base," Heckler said. "The tablet frame, which floats atop the neck, can be tailored to each specific tablet model."
WindFall is designed to allow users to put it together themselves and not take up a significant amount of space.
Redyref Interactive Kiosks on the other hand focuses on using space strategically based on the industry for which the kiosk is being designed.
"Our philosophy is modularity of design. As such, we use the enGAGE line of kiosk platforms to lay a foundation for a design strategy that moves the customer quickly to market using preliminarily design platforms that are intended to be semi- or fully- customized from their original platform design," said Ben Wheeler, director of marketing and sales for the company.
Redyref Interactive Kiosks, according to Wheeler, first examines the overall design of each retailer or restaurant to discover the best kiosk design to implement. It utilizes marketing surveys to discover these key elements. "A good example is the water and coffee verticals. These industries vary widely in the look and feel for the boutique coffee shops that are being built around the world," Wheeler said. "What might work in a retail coffee shop might not look so good in a boutique and vice versa."
"The enGAGE platform frame sets are set at 12-, 24-, 26- and 48-inches, which equates to square footage in the highly priced retail environment," Wheeler said. "Once you have the footprint required, we customize the cabinet skins to meet the component requirements."
Overall, any kiosk solution has to appeal to consumers' senses and be easy to access. If the kiosk is ugly, consumers will not want to use it. If the kiosk is not in a good location, consumers will not find it. If the screen is difficult to use, consumers will take their business elsewhere.
Companies: RedyRef Interactive Kiosks
Bradley Cooper is a Technology Editor for DigitalSignageToday.com. His background is in information technology, advertising, and writing.www