Kiosk Idle Timeout: What Happens When They Walk Away…

Customers don’t always behave as we would expect when using our kiosks. In the context of software, this is referred to as the “happy path” where everything goes according to plan.

As kiosk software developers we also must plan for what we’ll refer to as the “sad path.” This is when the customer deviates from the expected behavior.

In this article we’re going to be covering the case where the customer walks away from our kiosk in the middle of their transaction.

Obviously, we don’t want the next customer to continue where the previous customer left off. The new customer needs a fresh start and it would be confusing if they walked up and the kiosk is in the middle of a transaction.

Let’s start by first talking about why customers might abandon their kiosk transaction.

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How to Plan Your Payment Kiosk Workflow

In this article we’re going to plan an example payment kiosk workflow which can be easily adapted to fit your specific requirements. If you’re designing your first payment kiosk, this is a good starting point.

A kiosk workflow is simply an outline of the screens your customers will encounter while using your kiosk. This is a quick and easy way to get your ideas “down on paper”.

By the end of this article you’re going to end up with an easy to understand payment kiosk workflow which you can share with your designers to create user stories and wireframes.

Steps for creating a kiosk workflow…

  1. List the all the kiosk features
  2. Separate features into MVP Kiosk features (initial release) and Rev 2 features (subsequent releases).
  3. Outline the kiosk workflow for the MVP kiosk. You can read more on the benefits of building an MVP kiosk if you’re curious.

Step 3 is what we’ll be covering in this article. Now that we have our kiosk features listed out (Steps 1 & 2), let’s put together a payment kiosk workflow which incorporates our desired feature set.

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Avoid These 12 Mistakes Companies Make on Their First Payment Kiosk

The road to creating a payment kiosk is fraught with pitfalls that can wreak havoc on your bottom line if you’re not careful.

In this article I’m going to cover the 12 most common pitfalls I’ve seen companies fall into when building their first payment kiosk.

It was hard to limit the article to only the top 12, but top 100 would have been too lengthy a read.

I’m not going to get too technical here, as this article is geared more towards project managers than developers.

Here are the top 12 mistakes in no particular order…

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What’s Your Excuse for Not Starting Your Kiosk Project?

Have you ever wanted to start your kiosk project, but found an excuse to delay the launch and the project fizzled?

Assuming the project is worth doing, then why does this happen? I think in many cases it’s because we let our fears of the unknown get in the way.

Here are a few of the reason’s I’ve encountered why some of our potential clients get cold feet and their kiosk project and never get started.

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System Downtime May Be Costing You More Than You Think

Does your system have too much downtime and you don’t even know it?  Are your customers running away to your competitors without your knowledge?

The answer may be YES if your system experiences regular downtime and worst of all you may not even be aware of the extent of the damage until your reputation has been irreparably tarnished.

The term ‘downtime’ derives from when a system, combination of systems, or any application or service is unable to perform a desired operation. Downtime can be expected and scheduled, such as planned maintenance, or it can be an unintended interruption of service such as a server overload or device failure.

This article is intended to help broaden your thinking about the costs and types of system downtime.

kiosk out of order

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How to Integrate an MEI Bill Acceptor into Your Website with JavaScript

Easily integrate MEI bill acceptors into your website
MEI SC Series Bill Acceptor

It’s easy to integrate an MEI bill acceptor into your website with a little JavaScript and KioskSimple.  This article will include a detailed code example so you can try it out for free.

You’re probably reading this article because you’ve decided to create a website which needs to accept cash payments.  Maybe your website is running on a self-service kiosk or tablet and is attached to an MEI bill acceptor.

This example will work for any MEI bill acceptor which uses the MEI EBDS protocol.  At the time of this writing this includes the MEI AE and SC series bill acceptors. Continue reading “How to Integrate an MEI Bill Acceptor into Your Website with JavaScript”

How to Use a Credit Card Reader to Populate Payment Fields on a Website in JavaScript

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Magtek USB HID credit card reader

Want to automatically populate the payment fields on your website with a credit card reader?  We’ve made this really easy to accomplish using a little JavaScript, KioskSimple and a Magtek credit card reader.

I’m guessing you’re reading this article because you’ve decided to place your Ecommerce website on a self-service kiosk and want to save time with data entry when processing payments.

In this example I’ll create a simple HTML payment form and use JavaScript to communicate with a Magtek credit card reader to auto-populate the payment fields. Continue reading “How to Use a Credit Card Reader to Populate Payment Fields on a Website in JavaScript”

5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Dispensing Cash from Your Kiosks

Dispense cash from your kiosk with a bill recycler
Dispense cash from your kiosk like a human cashier with a bill recycler

Now that you’ve decided to dispense cash from your kiosk with a bill recycler I want to make you aware of the pitfalls to avoid. Dispensing cash can be invaluable for making change to your customers like a human cashier, but also introduces several new challenges which we’ll address in this article.

Most people familiar with bill acceptors think of a bill recycler as simply an add-on component which dispenses cash, but this is far from the case.

Dispensing bills greatly increases the complexity of the device and the logic required by your kiosk application in order to gracefully complete a cash transaction.

Don’t worry, all of these challenges can be overcome with careful planning and the reduced cashier expenses will be well worth the investment. Continue reading “5 Pitfalls to Avoid When Dispensing Cash from Your Kiosks”

What is Kiosk Software?

Kiosk software running on a kioskKiosk software is a security application specifically designed to transform a PC or tablet into a self-service kiosk.  The kiosk software is also responsible for locking down your kiosks operating system to prevent malicious user tampering, which is why kiosk software is often referred to as “kiosk lockdown software.”

Some common features of kiosk software include:

Ensures that your kiosk application is always running

In most cases the kiosk operator will desire to deliver their content in the form of a website or native application running on their kiosk.  An example of a native application for a kiosk running Microsoft Windows would be a .NET WPF application.  For the sake of brevity, for the remainder of this article I’m going to refer to the website or native application running on your kiosk as “your kiosk application.”

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EMV Compliance vs. PCI Compliance

Ingenico iSelf-Series Kiosk EMV DeviceWhat’s the difference between EMV compliance and PCI compliance?  The short answer is they’re both guidelines for protecting cardholder data for the purpose preventing fraud, but they focus on different elements of the credit card transaction.

“To clarify it even further and more simply, PCI is about making sure the card data doesn’t get stolen and is secure in the first place and EMV is making sure if the data IS stolen that the content is rendered useless.” – CPI PCI and EMV: What’s the difference? Continue reading “EMV Compliance vs. PCI Compliance”