Tag Archives: Yelp

Out & About: DFW Airport Touch Screen Terminal Assistant

So there I was walking through Terminal D of the DFW Airport close to midnight and all I wanted to do is get to my car so I could go home. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see this – another 11th Screen (IOOH) example – a large display that looked like it was just inviting a touch. So, of course, I stopped, got my trusty flip cam out, and started to poke around on it.

Let’s dust the scorecard off and put ‘er to the test.

Purpose – This is simply an interactive information kiosk that just happens to be an 80″+ touch screen. It’s designed solely to give travelers all of the essential information they need while they’re in the terminal – places to eat, where to shop, where to get your shoes shined, where the restrooms are, flight information – anything any traveler needs to know. Right at their fingertips. On an 80″+ touch screen. Mission accomplished.

Drama – When does an 80″+ touch screen not create a sense of drama? For the experience, I think it’s a bit like using a bazooka when you need a pea shooter. But the size is the thing that tipped me off to its interactivity. Ironically, I think it’s too well designed because the screen and structure fit right in to everything else in the terminal, so one could easily pass right by it thinking it’s just a big sign. And that’s the biggest problem. There was no clear call-to-action on the screen, nothing really that says, “hey there, why don’t you stop and touch this screen because I’ll give you some great information.” Instead, it’s just a silent 80″+ screen.

Usability – This is a simple experience so it’s usable. Or maybe it’s the other way around? In any case, this was an easy experience to navigate through. It wasn’t deep with content, so after you drill down a couple of times, you’ve hit the end of the path. But the GUI is laid out in a way that allows you to get to other pieces of content in a single press. As far as the functionality goes, I would underwhelmed with this experience. I wanted more and as you can see in the video, I expected it to function different than it actually did. With a large touch screen like this, I expect the functionality to be just as big. Not complex or obnoxious, but in some way commiserate with the size of the screen.

Interactivity – This is a single touch, single user touch screen experience. For a screen this big, they could have planned for multi-user interaction and created a rich experience. As it stands – in its current state – it’s as basic as you can get. The response and its functionality, after you press one of the buttons, is not distinct enough to let you know that something has happened. So, while the screen is responsive to your touch, the action (or seeming lack thereof) makes you think that it doesn’t work.

Information – To me, this succeeds at 1.0 information, but fails miserably at 2.0 information. Yes, it contains all of the information that it promises. But it’s base-level information – the name, the place, and the location. This experience could be made instantly better by integrating LBS (Foursquare, Gowalla) and/or consumer reviews/comments (Yelp?). Our friends at LocaModa would have a field day with this experience.

Personalization – There was no personalization in this experience. I think a social component – check-ins, reviews, comments – could add a welcome level of personalization to this. It would be relatively low user commitment, especially compared to the high level of benefit this sort of information would provide.

Overall, the lack of social integration has been a huge theme in these touch screen experiences over the last year. I am starting to feel like single-source information is not good enough anymore. But these are the things I pay attention to. I’m not sure that the average consumer – or traveler in this case – cares so much about it. Here’s the thing though – when their first impression includes social content, they feel like this is just another extension of what they’re used to when they use their computers or their phones. When it doesn’t include social content, I think we run the risk of not providing the type of value they need (based on their not-yet-completely-understood expectation).

More than that, though – when you’re going to do anything with an 80″+ touch screen, the experience better be 80″+.

Chronicles of an LBS Wanderer – 1

11th Screen Location Based Services Badge

Location-based services (LBS) – like Foursquare, Gowalla, and Yelp – made a big splash last year as a fairly successful, yet niche, mobile tactic for brands aiming to reach consumers in the real-world. They are great platforms for rewarding loyalty, real-time consumer reviews & tips, and for those who like such a thing, keeping track of your friends/family. I’ve “played” Foursquare consistently for a year now and dabbled in the others – Gowalla, Yelp, Loopt, SCVNGR. There’s interesting potential with this sort of technology, particularly when integrated with placed-based signage. But as I’ve wandered over the last year, I’m left wondering if these technologies will stick and ultimately reach the average consumer. And more than that, what it will take for them to reach that point? Here are my chronicles.

I checked into my train station the other night. It was my 100th check-in and as a result, I received a “Century Club” badge. I also received a customized message – something to the effect, “they should put your name up on the wall for frequenting so often.” Or something.

First thought: cool, I got another badge.

Second thought: ugh, I don’t get anything other than this message.

Then, I got sour.

The badge wasn’t enough. I wanted a free 30-day pass. A free ride. Some sort of discount, at least. I’d even take my name scrolling across the digital ticker at the station.

But then, that would get old, and I’d want something else, something of value.

The fact that these technologies fit into our regular, everyday life is one barrier that they don’t have to overcome. The check-in couldn’t be easier. But the big barrier lies in the value. As with any emerging technology, there’s a novelty period where it can get by on the technology alone. But there quickly comes a point to where it loses the novel factor, and in order for it to become sustainable and gain scale, it has to create some sort of value.

And this is what I’m feeling right now. Little to no value.

It’s interesting because my expectations have changed in a very short amount of time. And if mine – an early adopter/user, not the “average” consumer – have changed, what will it take to reach the average consumer? And become part of their daily lives?

The digital signage industry, and the places and things around us, can certainly help to create a sense of value. Stephen Randall and LocaModa have made a living targeting this very combination. Stephen’s specific take on this is that the value lies in the 3 Fs:  Fun, fame, and fortune. These are the keys that motivate consumers to interact with LBS, and digital signage is a perfect platform to maximize their effect. Everyone likes to see their name “in lights” (fame) and by nature, most of these technologies are game-like and fun.

The key is “fortune.” Value. Is virtual currency enough, even when you see yourself in the middle of a Times Square billboard? I was willing to accept my name scrolling on the train station ticker. But I’m still left empty.

I want more.