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.
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.
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.