The Importance of Kiosk Prototypes

3 minutes
Katie Kochelek
ClairVista kiosk prototype

The Importance of Kiosk Prototypes

3 minutes
Katie Kochelek
ClairVista kiosk prototype

Pictured: ClairVista's Live Expert® Kiosk with video chat and interactive tools for virtual customer service.

The lifecycle of a digital kiosk program typically involves the following stages: ideation, conceptual design, prototype, pilot program, and finally, production.

During this process, the prototype phase is vital. Read on for a deeper dive into why it’s an important step when planning a kiosk deployment.

What is a Kiosk Prototype?

To begin, a prototype is a preliminary kiosk, manufactured to match a client’s approved design and produced using the same methods planned for the full-scale roll out.

This phase is pivotal to the kiosk program. Not only does it give clients a physical representation to visualize design concepts, but the evaluation during this stage provides valuable feedback for changes to the production run. In short, it ensures the final kiosks deliver an optimal user experience based on insight learned from the prototype.

An Overview of the Kiosk Prototype Process

Creating a kiosk prototype is a thorough process that requires a blend of client collaboration, engineering precision, and quality craftsmanship. Here’s a step-by-step overview of what this phase entails with a kiosk manufacturer like Frank Mayer.

Client Review. First, we identify the client’s chosen kiosk design. This includes a review of specs, material choices, and aesthetics to ensure the expectations are clear.

Engineering. Upon finalizing design details, engineering will begin. Our engineering department maintains a library of hardware, so if the job requires any peripherals that have not been previously integrated into a kiosk project, a sample will be required.

Prototype Production. Once engineering is complete and the client and our team have reviewed, prototype production will begin. First, we select vendors to manufacture the parts. Then, we put together a timeline for completion of the “raw” parts. Once the parts are in, we do an initial construction of the kiosk to confirm fit and discuss any needed adjustments. If we are satisfied with the fit, we disassemble the pieces and send out metal for paint. At this point, we finish any graphics or elements needed. Once all the finished parts are back, we build the kiosk prototype.

What Should Clients Expect to Learn During the Kiosk Prototyping Process?

Kiosk prototypes transition concepts to tangible designs and help clients and the manufacturer visualize different facets of the project. Here’s a closer look at what clients can expect to uncover during the process.

Scale. The size and presence of a kiosk can sometimes surprise clients. A prototype brings the scale, shape, and dimensions to life. In some cases, a foam core mockup is recommended before a prototype to ensure the client is comfortable with the size.

Ergonomics. Prototypes can provide answers to many ergonomic questions, like:

  • Are all the peripherals easily seen and accessed?
  • Are they mounted at the appropriate height and angle?
  • Can the touchscreen by reached?
  • Can the user utilize the EMV (payment device)?
  • Will the receipt be presented so the user sees it before walking away?

Material Choices and Colors. Prototyping showcases colors and materials off a screen and under real lighting, helping clients assess if the choices align with their branding and aesthetics.

Graphic Presentation. Clients can verify if their logo is visible and legible as well as determine if it makes a bold enough statement from across a room.

Serviceability. For kiosks, this is critical. Can the store or a field service company easily perform maintenance on the kiosk?

Not only does the kiosk prototype serve to provide client insights, but kiosk manufacturers glean information from this process as well. The prototype allows the manufacturer to:

  • Confirm fit and finish for engineering choices and make any adjustments needed.
  • Validate decisions on materials, colors, and more.
  • Identify quality control checkpoints for the final run.
  • Finalize production pricing.
  • Decide packaging and shipping options.
  • Provide a visual guide for the assemblers.
  • Prepare instruction sheets or service manuals.
  • Initiate and complete any UL testing.
  • Educate potential installation companies.
  • Finalize cord management.

Kiosk prototypes transform abstract concepts into tangible designs so that the final product aligns with client expectations and functional requirements. It’s an important phase that marries the vision and reality, offering valuable insights for optimal user experience and seamless production in the end.

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