What Problem Does This Solve?
Provide location-specific information through an interactive screen in a public area.
Why Use This Pattern?
An electronic kiosk is a computer terminal that provides access to the features of an application while limiting access to other apps or system level functions, sometimes referred to as “kiosk mode”. It is important to understand that the kiosk is mostly available in a public space and any map has very specific characteristics that require a user experience design that is different to a web or mobile version that may exist for the same product. Some of the characteristics include the public, immobile, and unfamiliar nature of the location and device (oversized touch screen and keyboard, imprecise gestures, trackball instead of mouse) and the types of tasks performed (locate & directions).
When to Use This Pattern
Many shopping malls, conference centers, airports, campuses and other large public buildings use interactive kiosks to allow visitors to explore and navigate in buildings and explore points of interest in the vicinity. While many types of kiosks exist (e.g. ticketing, registration and check-in, exhibits, vending), a kiosk map is mostly used in visitor kiosks where the main tasks are to locate people, facilities or points of interest and ultimately retrieve wayfinding directions.
What’s the Solution?
Follow guidelines for Mobile Map for simplification and easy comprehension. Provide large buttons and map markers. Clearly label the current location on the map preferably with a marker that reads “Home” or “You are here”.
Furthermore, tailor content and tasks to the venue and context, e.g. a kiosk at a mall will require focus on stores, dining, and restrooms, while a kiosk at a university campus has bigger focus on directories (people and facilities) and parking or transportation.
A Partial Map layout works well to horizontally display the map next to a panel with a directory or walking directions.
The most important consideration is how to invite visitors to walk up to and start interacting with the kiosk. Animations that mimic user interactions (moving hand) or demonstrate usage (following a route or selecting a store) can help to catch the user’s attention.
Remember that visitors are often in a hurry and mostly have a very specific task to accomplish, they will spend a reduced amount of time on the kiosk and most certainly will not want to be distracted by new flashing gimmicks or an interface that isn’t to the point.
Allow the application to reset after a period of inactivity so that the next visitor will find the kiosk in a clean state centered around the current location.