Everyday design: user control over an interaction

I have recently noticed a small interface design change on my bank’s ATM (automated tell machine) that I use often to conduct banking transactions through a machine interface.

Before the redesign, the machine and I had the following interaction flow:

  1. To initiate a transaction, I first insert my bank card into the machine; the machine reads my card information and then returns it back to me. The machine then asks me for my pass code;
  2. After being validated, I choose what transaction I want to do and perform the transaction;
  3. Once I am done, the machine returns to its initial state prior to Step 1. To initiate another transaction, I need to start over from Step 1 as if I have not just had an interaction with the machine.

I use ATMs weekly or so and often felt being cut off abruptly after initiating an interaction.

After the redesign, this is the new flow that I have with the machine:

  1. To initiate a transaction, I first insert my bank card into the machine; the machine reads my card information and then returns it back to me. The machine then asks me for my pass code;
  2. After being validated, I choose what transaction I want to do and perform the transaction;
  3. Once I am done, the machine asks me: Do you want another transaction?
  4. If I do, I still need to start over from Step 1; If I don’t, I choose “No” to end the interaction, by me.

Even though I need to follow the same process for each transaction both before and after the redesign; in fact, after the redesign, I need to perform an additional step to “tell” the machine if I want to interact more or not. However, this additional step makes me feel that I have more control over the interaction than before — a good experience to have!

Others have explained such experiences in illuminating details http://www.uxbooth.com/articles/the-perception-of-control/. I am glad that such subtle redesign happened as it made a difference to me.

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