The 16 UX Factors In The Point Of Sale System · POS Design Guide Part 1

Creative Navy
Feb 5, 2018 · 8 min read

Last Updated: Mar 17, 2020

The design of ePOS software is faced with a set of challenges that arise out of the unique context the software is being used in. As a UX design agency we have conducted numerous user research activities for our clients to understand how cashiers use ePOS software systems and how the user experience affects their job. Also, we have reviewed dozens of ePOS systems and are still fascinated how few of them have a user experience that enables cashiers to be proficient.

Regardless of whether the ePOS software solution is iOS, Android or web-based, the standard UX design patterns cannot be applied readily to ePOS software apps, because the context is different in many ways:

Context issues

Distance to screen

We have performed on-site research with cashiers in their real setting several times and the results show that the distance to the screen is usually least double that, even when the position of the ePOS on the counter can be controlled. But most cashiers cannot control the position of the ePOS display because they don’t have enough space on the counter.

Time pressure

Cashiers do not have this luxury: they have to engage with the ePOS interface as quickly as possible to prevent queues from forming. Countless user interviews and hours of observation in our user research have shown that the tapping speed for cashiers is at least double that of normal users. The pressure from the customers is real. This means that intuitiveness, coherence and reliability of the ePOS user interface have to reach a whole new standard that cannot be compared to standard apps.

Physicality

User factors

Attention resources

Cashiers have to be aware of the larger context of the store, but also they have to engage with the customer, both visually and verbally to make the experience feel pleasant and personal. Affording attention to the ePOS interface is expensive and staring at the screen for a few seconds to interpret the design is a problem. Attention switching is a type of executive function that is very taxing on cognitive abilities and thus very tiring.

Visual impairment

While general users have some control over the situation they use an app and they can mitigate these factors, cashiers have very little control and the software interface must be more accommodating of their needs.

And: cashiers use the software in a professional setting for hours on end and they constantly have to refocus on objects that are a varying distances. This situation is tiring for the eyes.


Read the Design Guide Part 2: The Design Principles In The POS System.


Left/right handedness

Process constraints

Misconduct

The design of the ePOS user experience and user interface must be mindful of factors that encourage or discourage misconduct. A thorough understanding of common theft methods is important. In our research so far we have documented more than 15 ways in which employees steel money out of the cash register and some of these can be reduced by integrating smart design solutions into the ePOS software system. However, the benchmarking research we performed has shown that many interface in POS systems on the market are lacking effective ways to prevent fraud.

Errors affect speed

An error, and with hundreds of transactions per day errors are bound to happen, can easily increase the time spent per customer by a factor of 10. This is challenging for cashiers because they are in a situation where they have to be fast, but also not commit any errors in handling products in the ePOS. When an error occurs, the catch-22 is amplified a few times over and stress increases.

Accounting process

Proficiency

Proficient users

Average users are serene about doing things at an average page with average results, even when is a little effort could increase their efficiency. They do not like to experiment and to find hacks and they become stressed when they are uncertain about what to do.

The interface design must take into account the subtleties of both ways of using the ePOS software interface and to support both types of users in doing the best job they can.

Training

Standard and non standard behaviour

In the dozens of hours of observation we have performed and during participative sessions where our designers have acted as cashiers, we have been able to observe a lot of exceptions to what IT managers expect to happen in reality. These are unusual situations that should not occur according to the rulebook, but they are very present in the actual day-to-day life of a cashier operating an ePOS system. The POS software design must be aware of these situations.

Take away

Thorough user research and a nuanced understanding of day-to-day reality are essential success factors for POS design projects.

If you are interested in more UX case studies, check out The Border Force Goes Digital on our website, https://www.interface-design.co.uk/.

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© 2018 The Creative Navy Ltd. All rights reserved.

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