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INTERACTION DESIGN

Self Checkout

Several classmates and I spent four weeks redesigning the self-checkout experience. This project really stretched my design thinking abilities, and reestablished my belief that industrial and UX design are really one in the same.

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Problem Statement & Design Objectives

Customers find self-checkout machines frustrating and difficult to use. Frequent need for attendant assistance has created an experience that actually takes longer than a traditional checkout line. Supermarket managers find that these kiosks have a large, inflexible footprint, and employees find that the kiosk layout is difficult to manage and creates highly inefficient walking patterns. design objectives ‍

• Redesign the self-checkout experience to reduce wait-times, save on labor costs, prevent theft, and utilize limited retail floor space.

• Humanize the self-checkout experience to remove the conception that self-checkout is impersonal.

• Redesign the self-checkout experience to reduce wait-times, save on labor costs, prevent theft, and utilize limited retail floor space.
• Humanize the self-checkout experience to remove the conception that self-checkout is impersonal.

Existing Experience Audit

Checkout Flow

Payment Flow

Design Solution

In our design thinking we sought to bring the clerk closer to the customer service touch points we identified, thereby minimizing the time spent commuting between machines. Our solution places the clerk central to the customers by arranging the kiosks in a panopticon layout. In addition to increasing clerk efficiency, this system allows a clerk to service several customers at once from the comfort of a stool, rather than requiring they be on their feet for a full shift. The panopticon layout also serves to reduce theft by putting all customers within direct line-of-sight of the clerk. Our units are also modular, giving businesses the freedom to cater their self-checkout areas to their particular store layout. In order to reduce the need for clerk interactions we have simplified the software UI, relocated the payment components, and eliminated the bagging area scale entirely. No more “unrecognized item in bagging area” error that many users complained about.

The Panopticon, a type of institutional building designed in the late 18th century, allowed all inmates of an institution to be observed by a single watchman without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. Although it is physically impossible for the single watchman to observe all cells at once, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that all inmates must act as though they are watched at all times. Our design takes advantage of this concept to make each customer at a cluster of kiosks feel they are being given personal attention from a single clerk.

By arranging our kiosks in a modular panopticon, we take advantage of social theory to maximize the efficiency of in-person interactions. Panopticism maximizes the efficiency of any institution where surveillance, or in our case service, is necessary. It works by individualizing the subjects–— our shoppers–— and placing them in a state of constant visibility. This is all made possible through the ingenuity of the geometric layout that places a single authoritative figure–— our clerk–— at the center.