If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, or really any store for that matter, you know that speed and efficiency are key. You need to keep things moving, get the customers what they want, process the sale, and move onto the next. If there are and kinks in the machine, the whole process gets slowed down. This has never been more true than it is today, where everything is expected to be completed instantaneously and everyone is in a rush. One of the primary places that stores and restaurants get bogged down is at the register. Registers are expected to do a lot more now than they used to, and it can cause some problems.
Most POS (Point of Sale) systems need to be able to do many things. Back in the day, it was a simple process of opening up the register, and exchanging money to complete the service. Now however, these machines are expected to process orders and credit cards, allow customers to pay using their smartphones, and even track customer data and provide inventory projections. Somewhere along the way these once simple devices have become very complicated. This overly-complicated design ends up leading to slower employees, which results in bad business.
So how do we get back to the simpler designs? Easy – by looking at what used to work. If we examine some of the older hardware based systems – your cash registers and other machines – we can see what made them so great: they were easy to use. According to AccuPos, a POS developer, “Many software developers in charge of programming our POS systems try and do too much. Their hope is that by making their software flashy, and packing it with a ton of features, they will stand above their own competition. This ends up having an adverse effect however, as it makes the POS system too hard to use.” If they would just borrow a page from some of the older hardware based systems, they would produce a much better product.
To figure out what a good UX system would look like on a POS, we can examine some other devices that have good UX. A great example is smartphones. The iPhone and Android devices have exploded onto the market over the past decade, not only because they are highly functional, but because they are easy to use. Someone who has never held a smartphone before can pick one up and figure out how to use it with just a few taps of the screen. These devices can perform thousands of functions, but remain simple to use.
Another example would be any number of search engines vs. Google. Bing came out with their “you’ll like our results better” campaign, but really, it’s still a quite cluttered engine and people didn’t budge. They stick with what they know. Google is very simple – it’s just a search bar and their company name. Their simplicity is one of the reasons Google has far surpassed the other search engines that used to be prominent. If smartphones and websites can process thousands of commands, while still being easy to use, surely our POS systems can as well.
For those business owners among you who are tired of your complicated UX systems, we recommend carving out the stuff that’s not needed; first. Before you go diving into an overhaul that may just be as complicated as before. Think about the days when all we had was a simple register that was easy to use. You may need your system to perform more tasks than that register could, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be any harder to use. As developers and business owners, we need to remember that many users don’t know a thing about code and to ‘keep it simple stupid’.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Get UX Business Ideas from Hardware Based Systems
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