Digital kiosks and touchscreens are a great way to bridge the physical-digital divide, however Covid-related hygiene concerns could spell the end of their use – until now. One design and innovation agency has created the Moving Buttons concept, a hygienic interface for touchscreens which ensures customers always touch a clean surface when using a self-service kiosk in public.
With only a software update, the Moving Buttons concept works by intelligently moving the position of buttons around the screen for each new customer. Up to 50 people can use a touchscreen without tapping the same spot as someone else, before the system alerts a member of staff that it is ready to be cleaned.
As businesses prepare to reopen following announcements confirming the planned easing of restrictions, Special Projects are calling on major retailers, airports and transport hubs as well as urban planners to consider the role that digital products such as public touchscreens play in the spread of COVID-19. Recent research has suggested that viruses can remain active on glass, plastic and metal surfaces for up to 28 days after contact.
With numerous customers finding themselves in contact with other potential carriers of the Coronavirus every day, Special Projects set out to explore how this risk could be brought down through innovative interface design.
With this in mind, the Moving Buttons algorithm positions the most popular and most frequently used buttons in the immediate vicinity of your previous presses to encourage minimal screen interaction. Buttons such as the checkout button, or those used to input quantities, will be positioned at a location not yet used by a previous customer, and will then change location after each transaction has been completed.
Adrian Westaway, Principal of Special Projects, which came up with the concept, comments: “The pandemic has changed how we interact with our physical environment in so many ways, and we are all used to paying attention to the things we touch. The digital kiosk space in particular sees hundreds of people every day touching the same spots when purchasing products, which can be a risk in itself. As we emerge from this public health crisis, we want businesses to consider how we might seamlessly embed hygiene into technologies which have become a part of the fabric of our everyday lives. The Moving Buttons interface provides a very simple but potentially very impactful solution, and one which we hope will help demonstrate the potential of innovative interface design in keeping us safe in the future.”
Moving Buttons aims to change the way customers interact with self-checkouts, ticket machines, ATMs, and other forms of self-service across different sectors, to create safer and cleaner digital interactions within spaces which utilise self-service operations on a regular basis. The team hopes Moving Buttons will inspire manufacturers of digital kiosks to innovate and update their interfaces, seamlessly embedding hygiene into their products in order to create cleaner interactions for users.