Digital Directory Software: One More Reason Kiosk Companies are Not Interchangeable

Although RedyRef has made its name as a provider of end-to-end kiosk and digital signage solutions, what can sometimes get lost is the full extent to which we provide these various services. For instance, the majority of kiosk companies are VARs — value added resellers — and while they serve a purpose, for the most part they do not engineer or fabricate kiosks themselves, instead relying on a network of providers to fulfill these needs, along with any other necessary processes, from finishing to post-installation kiosk servicing. On the other hand, RedyRef both engineers and fabricates enclosures, as well as customizing software and handling the logistics of delivery and installation as required by our clients.

Interestingly, one of the most complicated facets of kiosk and building directory design actually has very little to do with the structure of the physical enclosure, and everything to do with how it will ultimately be used, including the overall end user’s experience. While some of this is addressed in the engineering — issues such as ADA compliance, or the average user’s ability to access all of the important aspects of the kiosk or directory — it’s the customization of software that makes the kiosk fundamentally effective.

This is where RedyRef sets itself apart from other kiosk, digital signage and building directory companies; we work with our clients in house to customize software to their exact specifications and needs, allowing for the most holistic perspective possible over the course of the kiosk design and manufacturing process. And because we understand that our clients value the ability to customize, but must do so through a lens of cost-efficiency, we are on the precipice of launching our new, cutting-edge software platform, created specifically for use in digital building directories. Based on the same principles as our enGage Kiosk software platform — fully customizable and flexible — our digital building directory software will offer an affordable opportunity to integrate custom building directory elements into a pre-configured but still highly-sophisticated and user-friendly interface. In this way, we will make it possible for our clients to get the directory features they want, while staying within their stated project budget.

Still believe all kiosk companies are the same? Hopefully we’ve convinced you otherwise. And if you’re ready to invest in digital building directories for your business, the experts at RedyRef are here to ensure that your directory deployment is a success. We invite you to submit a request for proposal online or call (800) 628-3603 today to find out how we can help you give your customers a best-in-class directory user experience.

Going Digital: Making the Move to Interactive Directories

Traditional printed, handwritten or analog building directories may still exist — there are plenty of examples in current deployment — but as digital solutions have become less expensive and more efficient over the last few years, even small businesses are beginning to make a welcome change to digital directories and wayfinding.

For those struggling to decide if it’s the right move for their company, it’s an understandable dilemma. After all, creating a digital directory system that increases efficiencies and solves problems for end users can be tricky; it requires balancing several different factors, ranging from design and engineering to software development. Just knowing where to start can feel like a project in and of itself. This means choosing the right partner is critical to the execution of a successful digital directory rollout for businesses of any size.

Starting with a company that has a full range of in-house capabilities, such as engineering and fabrication, can go a long way toward eliminating frustrations from the directory development process, as it creates instant efficiencies. Project management is handled by one point of contact, streamlining communication from design to deployment, saving time and money, while eliminating many of the pitfalls that stem from the participation of multiple players — in particular, communication failures that often translate into expensive mistakes.

Once a partner is chosen to create the new digital directory experience, it’s important that they conduct a thorough interview to understand both the client’s and end user’s needs. For instance, what does the client see as being the primary problem with the directories as they are currently deployed in a given environment? Is it that they require updating frequently which takes too much time? Are they not accessible enough? Do they not have the ability to showcase enough relevant information?

From the perspective of the end user, what types of information is important? How do they use the directory now, and what changes might make them more useful in the future? Are the convenient/easy-to-use/accessible? The answers to these questions will inform not just the UX and therefore the software development, but will also assist the industrial designer with creating the overall concept, and the engineer in bringing that design to life.

One of the greatest advantages of using a fully-vertical manufacturer is that once the design is finalized, the rest of production should be seamless — parts are fabricated, various hardware components integrated and the unit as a whole finished via a range of processes that may include anything from powder coating to printed graphic “wraps”. The most complete kiosk providers — like RedyRef — can also customize software to create the best-possible functionality and user experience, then deliver the digital directory right to its installation point.

If the simple, turn-key scenario presented here seems impossible, then you haven’t met the team at RedyRef. If your company is ready for digital directories, we invite you to contact us today at (800) 628-3603 and let us show you the difference choosing a vertically-integrated kiosk manufacturer can make to the entire kiosk development process.

Interactive Wayfinding Trends: What’s Next? — Part Two

Digital wayfinding isn’t showing any signs of slowing down across almost every industry and environment. With cutting-edge technologies being almost constantly introduced, opportunities to upgrade to better and more advanced integrations seem to be everywhere. So what’s next in way finding? Let’s find out.

3. Analytics and Data Mining

Last week, we talked a little about the ways in which big data is making its way into interactive wayfinding kiosks. So it stands to reason that the data being collected might be valuable in a number of different situations to both the company deploying the kiosk, and the kiosk manufacturer, as well. Utilizing behavioral analytics to better understand how and for what end users are searching allows companies to create both a better UX and more personalized results for their intended audience. Analytics can also enhance users’ experiences beyond the way finding kiosk and into their environments. When the data collected is used to make the physical wayfinding experience away from the kiosk easier to navigate — whether in a shopping mall or on a college campus — the guest’s or visitor’s overall impression of their environment is more likely to be positive.

4. Mobile Integration/Wayfinding Apps

While the focus is often on wayfinding hardware — the physical kiosk — consumers are now looking for ways to take the kiosk way finding experience with them on the go. That’s where mobile apps come into play. As end users become ever-more technologically savvy, it’s important to stay ahead of their demands for this type of UX across devices and platforms, including smartphones, tablets and wearable technologies like the Apple Watch. In fact, this is one reason why RedyRef ultimately developed an end-to-end mentality for our kiosk solutions. Having the capabilities to create way finding solutions from the ground up, including custom software integrations, is what sets us apart from our competitors. Whether our customers want to give their visitors or guests mobile walking directions, maps or specific location-driven content (such as coupons), we can make it happen — and design, build and even deploy the kiosk at the same time.

Is your business ready for what’s next in interactive wayfinding? As an end-to-end manufacturer of vertically integrated self-service kiosk solutions, we invite you to submit a request for proposal online or call (800) 628-3603 today to find out how RedyRef can help you give your customers a best-in-class, digital wayfinding experience.

Interactive Wayfinding Trends — What’s Next?

Interest and investment in interactive wayfinding doesn’t appear to show any sign of slowing as we cross the mid-year point of 2016. In fact, trends continue to pop up in this kiosk category all the time, which is why we’re making them the focus of our blog this week. So what’s next in way finding and building directories? Let’s find out.

#1: Big Data Makes its Way into Kiosks

The ability to track consumer behavior has always been desirable and the dawn of the internet made it easier than ever to do exactly that. And now wayfinding software is making it possible to find out now just how customers are using the device (usability tracking), but to get a glimpse of what kinds of information they are seeking out with its use, enabling those collecting the data to keep information provided relevant and fresh. For example, let’s say that a large education expo was scheduled for a college campus. Wayfinding kiosks are of course useful for getting directions and locating conference rooms for different workshops and such. But new advances in wayfinding kiosk software now allow for a much broader array of information to be searched and communicated. Besides finding the fastest way to point A from point B, way finding kiosks can now be integrated with database feeds that feature everything from live event streams, to emergency alert system notifications to point-of-sale programs that accept donor contributions to a given organization.

#2: 3D Mapping Becomes the New Standard UX

Remember when offering an interactive map was considered cutting edge? Not anymore. Enter 3D mapping. In a consumer world that is becoming ever-more-comfortable with the idea of virtual and augmented reality, creating a fully-immersive experience for customers will at some point in the near future be not just just an interesting feature, but a mandatory part of the overall UX. Whether it’s via an interactive 360 degree panorama, live webcam or fly over simulation, 3D mapping is not just the wave of the future, but the current reality for those developing wayfinding kiosks for deployment in the next 6-12 months.

Looking for more way finding trends? Come back next week as we explore this idea further. And if you happen to be ready to dive into the deep end of interactive wayfinding now, RedyRef is here to ensure that your company’s kiosk program is a success. As an end-to-end manufacturer of vertically integrated self-service kiosk solutions, we invite you to submit a request for proposal online or call (800) 628-3603 today to find out how we can help you give your customers a best-in-class wayfinding experience.

How to Create a Best-in-Class Self-Service Kiosk UX: Part Three

Last week, we featured part two in a discussion about interactive kiosk UX, because although self-service is experiencing tremendous growth across multiple industries, there are still plenty of kiosk programs that ultimately fail. As many of those failures are related to poor user experience, we wanted to share some key factors that are universal to designing a best-in-class experience for end users. Today, we present the last part of our series on creating a user experience that translates into successful deployment in the field.

     7. The interface should put the user in the driver’s seat. While Millennials are least affected by concerns about new technology, even they don’t like to feel like they aren’t in control of transactions — especially in public. It’s embarrassing, frustrating and inconvenient to need to seek out help when using a self-service kiosk. Plus, it completely defeats the purpose of eliminating or reducing a level of service, and that means less cost savings for the company deploying the kiosk in the first place. This is really a no-win situation all around, so it’s best to prevent it in the first place via lengthy user testing on the front end to work out any potential bugs in the transaction process. Which brings us to the next point…

     8. Test, test, test and then test again. Why? Familiarity breeds content, and that can lead to your end-user’s contempt if you don’t ensure that plenty of fresh eyes have tested the kiosk (in-lab, and in the field) in order to figure out any sticking points in the UX well in advance of full deployment. It’s essential that testers are from a range of backgrounds, too, because everything from education level to culture to age will play a part in their perception of the experience. While it may not be possible to create a completely universal user experience that appeals to absolutely everyone, unless you are targeting a specific demographic, it’s a good to at least try.

     9. Seriously limit the need for consumers to use any kind of search function, if one is included. This may seem like a minor detail in a sea of much bigger issues, but it’s actually incredibly important. Almost no one likes to type on a kiosk. It’s often annoying and frustrating and when you add in language barriers and differences in education levels, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. The need to type also slows down the transaction considerably, which can lead to a greater risk of the user abandoning the kiosk completely, especially if they see traditional manned lines moving more efficiently around them.

     10. Remember: your brand is on the line. In a world of omnichannel retail, kiosks may be only one way that consumers interact with companies, but it’s a powerful one. Do you want your brand to be perceived as inept, disorganized, or incompetent? Likely not. Think of your brand ideals and mission statement; this is what you want to present to customers via their self-service kiosk experience. Kiosks are an extension of brand, every bit as much so as a website, in-store or mobile experience would be. Every brand interaction matters, no matter the environment, so treat kiosks with the same kind of importance given to any other channel.

And with that, our series on creating world-class interactive kiosk UX has drawn to the close. Hopefully these three blogs have convinced you that RedyRef has what it takes to make your company’s self-service kiosk program a success. As an end-to-end manufacturer of vertically integrated kiosk solutions, we invite you to submit a request for proposal online or call (800) 628-3603 today to find out how we can help you give your customers the best possible user experience, too.