Targets new take on self checkout

Why we should take notes for UX/UI designs

I was impressed to see the interface of the self checkout at Target has been recently updated. I ventured out to grab something from the store this weekend and was really surprised by the new interface I found at s of check.

Historically the self checkout interfaces have been modeled after what you would see in the normal checkout lane with simplified headers and prompts. The concept I can presume is to empower the users to feel like the cashier with the same control and shopping experience. Yet, we are not cashiers or in a position to need half of the things that are on display. It’s like a need to know situation and I don’t need to know much, but you welcomed me into the meeting.

The updated interface however, takes a new approach the to project. Very simplified screens, minimal text with simple (redefined) icons. The use of basic typography and icons is a shift from the classic Target style. It is easy to see the new direction for the brand from the simple yet elegant designs.

The other notable change is the removal of the weighted basked for products. You are videotaped, and their is a small screen that shows you that you are being watched. There is are also new cameras that show the register as well as the attendant who works there.


What we learn from this

The biggest take away and item we need to note from a design stance is that designing to what people need is allowed to be more simple than we give credit.

Instead of making the system more robust the interface takes a step back, asks what users need, then provides only that. By giving users what they need to complete their task this goes far beyond the implementation of an interface and creates a unique and fulfilling shopping experience. Users are able to speed up their checkout process (as we all presume self check should), and be prompted toward the next steps in the process not having to prompt them.

The recent rise in UX/UI debates can be very quickly shown through this that they are interlaced far more than anyone wants to admit. The user experience is enlightened through the new user interface, and the user interface is heavily influenced and design specifically for the user experience.

We can all learn for this approach and take a step back, look at the big picture and more important how the tech is being used for humans. It saddens me that design teams often look at interactions as a requirement, something that we need to adapt to or somehow serve and validate. This is not the case though, human computer interaction is based on a need by humans, when computer systems can benifit a user or enhance their process. This is very clear with self check, since users have the choice of interactions with computers or employees.

Bad checkout software UI has long been a pain point in the retail market UX. I have a feeling we will see a new uptick in the trend of simple, clean redesigns for self checkout lanes. Bringing users what they when, before they want it in the most simple format, that is after all the basis for UX/UI design and strategy (or should be).

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