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Interactive Kiosk

NOTE: These instructions were last updated on 2/20

Design is ultimately about creating experiences for people. When considering solutions to common, albeit complex socio-technical problems, designers must give special attention to the interplay of the social and physical context, information, and user behavior. The goal of this team-based assignment is to envision and build an interactive, intelligent, and innovative Point of Purchase (POP) Kiosk that supports the goals and context of the design brief summarized below. Teams should strive to introduce a concept that’s unique for the marketplace, feasible, and desirable for the target context and group that is articulated by each team as they work to address the design brief.

Teams will be comprised of ~4 people assigned by instructors, contained within each section to best utilize weekly studio meeting times.

Learning Goals 
  • Doing online research to understand a problem
  • Conducting semi-structure interviews
  • Cultivating empathy toward users and creating personas
  • Creating storyboards
  • Framing a problem based on user research
  • Ideating and refining concepts
  • Sketching and making physical prototypes
  • Testing prototypes with users 
  • Understanding how sensors/hardware and displays can integrate into a user experience
  • Understanding how devices interact with physical products or product markers
  • Creating a moodboard and color scheme
  • Developing and implementing a design language for multiple screens/artifacts
  • Creating digital screen designs and clickable prototypes to demonstrate key interactions
  • Communicating design ideas to others


Design brief

There is significant potential for self-service and partially automated point of purchase (POP) systems to be increasingly integrated into the typical brick-and-mortar shopping experience. While they have become commonplace staples of supermarkets and big-box retailers, there are undoubtedly many ways that such systems can innovate and reshape the customer experience across a variety of retail sectors. As such, these systems will be expected to support a wide range of both human and retail needs and services.

A kiosk that represents a new evolutionary step in this problem space should address the current limitations and frustrations that many customers encounter, while also leveraging already established procedures and proven solutions. A device that is intuitive, consistent, and reliable—as well as thoughtful and delightful in its implementation—is the design goal that is being targeted. Rather than a general purpose or one-size-fits-all approach that is aimed at being utilized across a breadth of contexts, you are instead tasked on focusing in on a specific retail space that has needs and constraints that can push you to be creative. The kiosks you design should address the following:
  1. Context: While the primary design goal of a POP kiosk is shared by all teams, within that constraint you are free to pursue whatever retail space you choose: well-known chains; boutique or artisanal products or services; emerging and novel marketplaces; or even near-future retail spaces that are on the verge of being possible. Each context, product, customer, and type of purchase will present unique challenges and opportunities to demonstrate your ability to innovate and generate solutions.
  2. Product Interaction: It is expected that each kiosk will be specifically designed around interactions with either physical product(s) or a marker that symbolizes said product(s). This will necessitate that your design solution is taking this very specific type of interaction into account, and that this is well-represented and thoughtfully integrated into your solution.
  3. Synthesis: Your kiosk itself will ultimately represent a synthesis of everything you have learned thus far about visual communication, material prototyping, and physical/+digital interaction. The design and integration of these areas should reflect the contexts and people for which the kiosk will be deployed and must include the following elements:
    • A physical chassis constructed out of appropriate materials
    • A digital screen that displays pertinent information and feedback
    • At least one physical interaction of a mechanical nature (e.g. buttons)
    • A means of interacting with a physical product (e.g. sensor, scanner, camera)
    • A means of accepting multiple common types of payment
Technology considerations
Teams must demonstrate their ability to design a preferred future based on the technology of today and the near future. The design should consider the rich set of possible sensors and capabilities of today’s smartphones and wearables. However, teams may also envision new capabilities as long as they are reasonable and grounded in current cutting-edge technology. Existing capabilities include, but are not limited to:
  • Location sensing via GPS
  • Movement via accelerometers to sense repetitive activities such as walking, running, biking, etc.
  • Sound via a microphone for ambient audio and voice
  • Cameras (still and video)
  • Light sensors
  • Speakers, vibration, and LED lighting on screen for feedback and feedforward
  • Object and face recognition
  • Biometrics such as fingerprint reader
  • Connectivity to internet using Bluetooth, wifi, and mobile network
  • Device to device communication via NFC (near field communication) either with touch or very close proximity (http://www.nearfieldcommunication.org/)

What to do:

Your team's goal is to perform human-centered research and design around the brief outlined above. This assignment has two phases. For phase 1 (Research), teams will conduct online research, competitive analysis,  and fieldwork to more deeply understand one of the given design briefs. Teams will create personas to articulate stakeholder concerns. Finally, your teams will generate storyboards to articulate hypotheses about the problems and potential solutions, and then conduct interviews with stakeholders to sharpen your point of focus. For phase 2 (Conceptualization and Execution), teams will iterate on physical prototypes, create interactive screen designs, conduct user testing, create moodboards, and develop a design language specification. Teams will also be expected to create a slide deck, and poster as part of their final deliverables. 

Phase 1: Research and Conceptualization (see list of deliverables and due dates below)
  1. Online research. Get to know your particular topic inside and out. Read all the information that you can find online and summarize the specific challenges. Write a list of all resources (books, URLs, journals, conference papers) so that you can cite them later. Create a list of existing POP kiosks that you find and summarize what they offer and what they lack (competitive analysis). 
  2. Personas. Based on the design brief, online research, and any other research you conduce (informal interview or informal field observations) create a persona that illustrate the archetype primary stakeholder (main user completing the POP interaction) in your problem context.
  3. Storyboards. Write at least two "speed dating" scenarios that describe problematic situations for your stakeholders and illustrate these as storyboards. Each storyboard should include a title that summarize the problem and four frames that clearly communicate 1) the context (setting, stakeholders, etc.), 2) the problem, 3) the proposed solution, and 4) a resolution. Teams will share storyboards in class and get feedback on how effectively they communicate the issues and concepts.
  4. Wireframes. Utilize hands-drawn (low-fidelity) and digital (mid-fidelity) wireframe concepts to clearly communicate the content and interactive elements of screens/information displays that will be part of the user interface for your kiosk.
  5. Kiosk sketches. Taking everything into account that you have learned and developed up to this point, you should start sketching ideas for the physical kiosk itself. This is an activity that will be revisited several times throughout the process. Sketches will be completed individually and as a team, and will take the form of thumbnails, full-page, and digital forms.
  6. Materials list. Teams should create and update/maintain a shared list of the prototyping materials they will need for low, mid, and high fidelity prototypes of their kiosk. Teams should begin gathering materials by the end of Week 7 so that they can begin working on physical prototypes of the Kiosk by Week 8.
  7. Paper prototype. Create initial mockups out of paper to demonstrate how users will interact with screens/information displays to complete the purchase process for the physical product your kiosk is designed for. 
    • Do initial testing with peers from class/section
    • Conduct testing with a minimum of two potential stakeholders/users from outside of class.
      • These tests should be carried out by team members in pairs, with one member focusing on guiding the testing session, while the other team member assists with "operating" the prototype and taking notes about the testing session—this is very important!
      • Make sure you collaboratively create a set of specific tasks (e.g. such as those you drafted for A4) that you are asking your user to complete through interaction with your prototype.
      • It is recommended that your prototype and tasks focus on specific, but fairly high-level interactions that will get you the most salient and valuable feedback about your initial ideas concerning how a user will interact with the screen(s) of your kiosk when completing a purchase or other specific interaction.
      • It is ok to also share sketches, wireframes, and storyboards with your users to get additional feedback, but this should likely be done after the paper prototype testing has been done.
      • Share the results of your tests with the team, and then as a group you should summarize the results of these tests, highlighting the key findings and discussing their implications for your design direction moving forward.
  8. Interviews and concept validation. After a round of iteration on the storyboards, wireframes, and paper prototypes, teams should interview potential stakeholders to better understand the real problems and to clarify the direction for your design concept.
    • Make sure to read Erika Hall on Interviewing Humans!
    • Reach out to your own social networks and people who fit your personas to find potential interviewees. The closer you can get to a real user of your shopping context, the better. You might interview a friend or family member, but the key goal here is to get *real* feedback and insight into both the general shopping experiences of potential users, as well as those specific to your design.
    • As a team, create a rough interview guide with open-ended questions for your intended stakeholders. This should include general questions about the interviewee’s activities related to the topic and specific questions tied to your storyboards. 
    • Each student on the team should conduct at least one interview with a stakeholder. Bring your sketches, storyboards, wireframes (and if appropriate, your paper prototype) to the interviews to get elicit from your potential users.
    • Make sure you share your interview findings with your teammates. As a team, summarize the key insights you've learned about the problem and the stakeholders.
    • NOTE: you can utilize the same people for interviews and paper prototype testing, but they should be conducted as separate activities, even if they occur back-to-back. Do not attempt to do both at the same time. This does not mean that team members can interview the same person more than once, as you still need a total of 4 unique interviews.
Timeline & Deliverable Due Dates for Phase 1:
Note that some of these stages are expected to continue to be iterated on beyond their initial deliverable due dates (sketches, wireframes, paper prototypes, etc.), and that these deadlines and submissions are meant to serve as forcing functions and checkpoints to ensure progress is being made.
  • Online research: Starts 2/12 and continues through 2/22
  • Personas: completed by 2/15
  • Storyboards:
    • "Speed dating" storyboards completed by 2/15
    • Storyboard iterations completed and submitted by 2/21
  • Initial Wireframes: completed by 2/21
  • Kiosk sketches:
    • Initial sketch, 1 per team member completed by 2/19
    • Thumbnail sketch iterations, 10 per team member (can have more than one on a page, and should build on your initial sketches to explore possible variations and directions) completed by 2/21
    • Revised mid-fidelity sketch (can be digital), 1 per team member completed by 2/26
  • Materials list: completed by 2/26 (will likely be updated)
  • Initial Paper prototype: completed by 2/22 and tested by 2/26
  • Interviews: conducted and summarized by 2/26
  • Phase 1 group report due 2/26 submitted via Canvas before 11:59pm that includes:
    • Online research summary (including sources)
    • Minimum of 1 persona per team member
    • All storyboards and wireframes up to this point
    • All kiosk sketches (as noted above)
    • Materials list (understood to be a work in progress)
    • Paper prototypes including:
      • multiple images of the completed paper prototypes you tested
      • a summary (about a page per test) of your findings from your initial round of testing, including a list of the specific tasks you asked users to complete
    • Team interview guide + summary of interview results—this summary can be a synthesis of all 4 interviews, and should likely be ~2 pages in length, which can include some bullet points.
Phase 2: Iteration and Realization (will be updated before Week 8 begins)
    1. Low fidelity physical + paper prototypes of kiosk
    2. Moodboards
    3. Design language specification.
    4. Screen designs and 'interactive' prototype.
    5. Integrated mid fidelity physical prototype of kiosk for final testing that includes:
      • A physical chassis constructed out of appropriate materials
      • A digital screen that displays pertinent information and feedback
      • At least one physical interaction of a mechanical nature (e.g. buttons)
      • A means of interacting with a physical product (e.g. sensor, scanner, camera)
      • A means of accepting multiple common types of payment
    6. Finalized kiosk.
    7. Final slide deck.
    8. Large-format poster
    Timeline & Due Dates Phase 2:
    • TBD
    Helpful Materials/Tools for this Assignment
    Final Deliverables (additional details forthcoming)
    • For the final crit:
      • Physical Kiosk Design that satisfies all design consideration in the design brief and other instructions
      • A slide deck that accompanies your physical prototype for the final crit
      • A large format poster (dimensions TBD) that serves as "Marketing Material" for your kiosk
    • For online submission:
      • A final PDF report detailing your groups design project (full list of contents forthcoming)
    Grading Rubric

    Grades will be based on the following:
    • Rubric TBD