Point of Sale System Resdesign

Point of Sale System Resdesign

For my primary project in Human Factors and Interface Design, I worked with Sarah Oliver and Jerzy Wieczorek to redesign the Olin College dining hall's point of sale system. We worked primarily on the interface within the computer, but soon learned that many of the common challenges faced by dining hall staff are with the limitations of the system, not its interface. Specifically, customers who pay with cash slow down lunchtime operations, and they are too often unable to provide cash customers with proper change. To solve this, we conceived of a temporary declining balance card -- much like the cards used in mass transit systems around the world -- to reduce the number of cash transactions.

One of the surprises during this project came when we added an "express lane" that would allow students on meal plans to swipe their cards at a separate card reader from the cashier, so they could avoid waiting in line behind people paying with cash. While students passing through an unmonitored line is not a problem at Olin, where the cashier station is often untended and students simply swipe themselves through, we were concerned about security at larger or more public food service operations. To increase security, we decided to display a ID picture of the student currently at the express lane so that staff members could visually check the ID. When the users at Olin noticed the picture, they were excited not for its security applications but because it would help them continue to learn students' names even if they skipped the cash line.

During this project, I became familiar with the use of personas and scenarios, the development of interaction flows, and prototyping in paper and interactively.

Team: Sarah Oliver and Jerzy Wieczorek

Resources: Project Website, Final prototype (best in Firefox)

Evolution of the home screen.
We pursued two design directions for the home screen through paper and high fidelity prototyping phases before selecting one for interactive prototyping and usability tests.

Card swipe dialog box
User feedback and our usability tests led to several changes in the card swipe dialog box between each prototype.