Home > Interactivity > Interface 1: Self Service

Interface 1: Self Service

For the first part of this task I have chosen the Tesco/Sainsburys/B&Q Self Checkout System.

The system in place is to aid shoppers at the different supermarkets or shops, by speeding up the time it takes to purchase products if you only have a few small items you were hoping to just grab and go. The idea works, as it means people with lots of shopping dont have to wait for people with only 1 or 2 items, whereas people in a rush just buying lunch or something to drink can quickly and efficiently buy their items. The stores usually have 6-8 of these self-checkouts, and they are ran using Windows.

Self Service Checkout

Self Service Checkout

They could be vastly improved if the operating system was more stable. Many times they’ve had generic windows error messages, which makes them unusable by shoppers, also one or two checkouts are closed due to them being broken in some other way. The operating system needs to be stable to ensure a high throughput of customers, and it would also encourage more customers to trust the system, especially one which they maybe putting their credit/debit cards into!

Another improvement would be the layout of the system. I have watched many people from older generations struggle to get their heads around what they need to be clicking, so a better layout and design of the on-screen instructions would be better, as it puts off older customers from using the technlology. The screen at the moment is rather cluttered which makes a first time user confused as they do not know where to begin.

A third improvement could be the systems protocols for if something goes wrong. For example, the system immediately attempts to call a staff member over if anything goes wrong, which also locks up the screen, not allowing you to go any further in your shop. It  can never self-diagnose or self-correct, a staff member usually has to override it to make it work properly. Even something as simple as accidentally scanning something more than once, and trying to remove the item causes the system to lock up and call a staff member over, which is disappointing in this day and age. Also, when buying age-restricted items or electronic goods with magnetic tags on requires a staff member to step in and help. There could be a system which can scan a form of ID and double check its validity with a face recognition system or possibly even an iris or fingerprint scanner. With the alarm-activating tags, it could detect when an item has been purchased, and deactivate the tag wirelessly.

A final improvement could be a better detection of the items. The scanner is typically poor at best at picking up barcodes, so perhaps a different way to detect items, or a more powerful one as sometimes it takes a few minutes to detect your item, even if you have the barcode in precisely the correct place. This makes for a disappointing level of service sometimes.

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