Out & About: SI’s Touch Screen at the Detroit Airport

The Detroit airport is littered with digital and interactive (touch) displays, outside of the standard flight boards.  I’ve always wanted to stop and play around with the touch screen displays, but I usually find myself hurrying on both sides of the trip.  Last week, I was with a few of my colleagues in Detroit, so I made us all stop for a minute and capture one of the experiences.  This is one of the touch experiences in the SI store (there are a few Detroit-specific city-search kiosks in the airport, too) and I can tell you, right off the at, this (along with those other touch screen displays that I’ve seen) is not a great experience.

But let’s break it down against the scorecard.

Purpose – I just shake my head at this, but from what I can gather (based on repeated observation), the sole purpose of this experience is extend the SI brand experience.  In theory, this sole purpose is not a bad one, especially inside a store, but to simply display the normal .com website is not extending anything in my book.  If they don’t want to create custom content for this experience, why not simply display their Facebook page or their YouTube channel?  Either of these would drive the normal consumer deeper into their brand and provide a much more compelling experience.  As it is now, these screens are assets that provide little to no value.  I don’t think they deliver on their purpose, much less affect sales.

Drama – In the store, there are two of these screens – one on each side of the store – and they’re consistently hidden by merchandise.  You can tell that the employees of the store don’t even see value in them because they never clear anything out of their way.  (The only reason I ever see them is because I’m looking for things like this).  And to top it off, I’ve never seen both of them working at the same time.  One is constantly black while the other just sits there, displaying the current home page of the day.  No call-to-action.  No animation.  No nothing.

Usability –  Ugh.  You can see for yourself.  It’s virtually unusable.  We interacted with it (if you can call it that) for no more than a minute before it errored out.  And in terms of the actual experience, had the hardware supported the experience, the SI website is so deep, even with a mouse and plenty of time, you’re not assured to have a great experience anyway.

Interactivity –  Website standards are not digital signage standards.  To think that someone, even with small fingers/hands, could navigate a standard website experience on a touchscreen, without any modifications, is a stretch.  Add a non-responsive touch screen monitor to the mix and you have one big headache.

Information – See www.si.com.  Lots of content to interact with.  Ask yourself, if you’re a traveler, coming into or flying out of Detroit, would you want to interact with a website on a touch screen?  Would you have that much time?  I think not.  You wouldn’t even want to interact with the entire website on your mobile phone.  There’s an app for that.

Personalization – Um, no.

These kinds of experiences are exactly the kinds of things that do not help get people excited about digital/interactive signage.  Black screens.  Screens that don’t react to touch.  Screens that simply show websites.  This is not good practice.

Fortunately for them (if “they” even see value in these screens), they already have the screens in place.  They just need a few minds in the room to think of possible content executions.  There are many things they could do, even if they needed to ditch the “touch” (LBS anyone?), that would actually get them closer to achieving their purpose.

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