Case studies: Shopping mall terminal

I regularly go to a grocery Mart near my office. They have the standard checkout machine which scans the barcode on the products and generates bills. I see the staff punching in values and commands and numbers continuously.

They had used resistive touch panels and not more advanced capacitive ones. I continued thinking what might be the reason for that. One obvious reason could have been cost reduction, but a more prominent reason became apparent to me when she took the credit card for payment.

After card payment is done, they have to punch in some numbers. The numbers are generally on the slip which comes out of the card machine. So they have the slip in one hand and the credit card in another. Mostly they key in the numbers using a corner of the credit card by tapping on the interface. Such behavior is only possible on resistive touch interfaces. So in such scenarios, apt use of technology helps more than using the latest and greatest things available. Also, I have seen them tapping the system hard with smudgy, moist hands, other shopping cart items etc. This will not be possible if only acceptable mode it capacitive touch.

On the other hand, if the reason is only cost cutting, even then the users have already accepted the system as is and created certain behavior patterns keeping that in mind. So in future if you want to upgrade the machines your UT should capture this data.

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