Success in execution: What kiosks can learn from other interactive applications
My last blog argued for the need for "economy of action" when it came to the building out of self-service networks. Simply put, it means that whatever function an interactive kiosk is going to provide, it should be able to perform said function quicker and more efficiently than other alternative means.
Thinking more about this design philosophy, it is seems that there is a pattern on simplicity in most successful interactive digital endeavors. Consider some of the most successful apps/self-service digital kiosks that exist today that focused on simple execution at the project's inception.
Twitter: A simple program that's limited to 160 character status update from a user. It's something that, at its inception, would be easy to dislike just because Facebook could do the same thing. But, it was so simple in its execution that it thrived. Only after its success did it adopt more features like picture tweeting.
Redbox: A simple one stop shop for video rentals that has become almost ubiquitous at fast food locations and grocery stores. They succeeded tremendously in their initial mission that now they are working in the streaming video department positioning themselves to be a competitor to Netflix.
Netflix: Probably one of the biggest success stories in stocks, Netflix started out simply renting movies to people through the mail. They have transitioned into a popular streaming service that is even challenging the dominance of cable TV subscriptions as they gather more and more programming under its umbrella.
Flickr: The popular photo sharing blog site started simply by providing an easy-to-use platform to share high quality photos. As many of you may know, Yahoo acquired it for over a $1 billion.
Instagram: Almost like a photo version of twitter in which people post and edit pictures and share with their friends online. It too was recently acquired by Facebook for $1 billion.
What can we learn from these success stories with regards to self-service kiosk applications? I think it should be that whatever the project is, the goal should be to first and foremost keep it simple first and succeed in executing that simple task. Once the project achieves and maintains an audience then functionality can be expanded and then improved upon. If kiosks start out doing too many things at once there is a high risk of becoming a "jack of all trades, master of none."
Michael Ionescu 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. www