Search this site:


December 30, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Sprint payment kiosk

Sprintkiosk_1A reader named Marvin submits a picture taken in Los Angeles, California:

At the Sprint Store on 3rd and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, they have a kiosk in which you  can pay your bills by inputing your account information and inserting dollar bills (similar to a vending machine).

You can clearly see a keyboard and trackball, however the keyboard and trackball don't serve any purpose because all data is input via the touch screen interface.

What is the point of having the keyboard there if you can't use it to input data or navigate the system?

That being said, I wish the keyboard was usable, because touch screens aren't as easy to use, and are more prone to input errors.


At the kiosk where I work, there is a keyboard attached, but the software insists on displaying a keyboard on the touch screen.

What's fun about it (aside from being a LOT slower than a physical keyboard) is that the on-screen keyboard is missing such basic characters as '@', '/', etc.!

Posted by: inspired at December 30, 2006 12:43 AM

i guess if the system crashes then they need to access the actual windows itself (assuming it's windows)

that would require a keyboard.

Posted by: EMDF at December 30, 2006 03:41 PM

>> i guess if the system crashes then they need to access the actual windows itself (assuming it's windows)

that would require a keyboard.

And repairing something would require a screwdriver and spare parts, but those aren't laying around for the public to see. . .

Posted by: Nutsy at December 31, 2006 11:34 AM

they are obviously there to hack into the system and "pay" your bill and straighten out your account.

Posted by: globpharm at January 1, 2007 12:27 AM

Two things come to mind:

- Sprint doesn't fabricate their own terminals, they just buy generic ones.

- A future (or past) software load might take advantage of a keyboard and trackball, and having them available from the beginning means not having to ship hundreds of new terminals out to the field when that happens (or leaving them there meant not having to ship hundreds of new terminals without).

Posted by: rich at January 1, 2007 12:22 PM

How exactly is this broken??

Are applications with both keyboard shortcuts AND mouse operations broken?

- applications with toolbars AS WELL AS menus?

- controls on my TV AND on my remote?

- a tuner AS WELL AS presets on my stereo?

One of the top ten rules of usability is multiple optional access paths.

Posted by: DavesBrain at January 1, 2007 02:46 PM

How is it broken? Because there is no upside to leaving these devices exposed to the public (they can't use them) but there is plenty of downside (they can steal them, break them, spill liquids in them, etc.). You can't even excuse them as art (like useless but expensive lawn ornaments or hubcap spinners).

Posted by: henrybowmanaz at January 1, 2007 06:18 PM

"(they can't use them)"

Who said they can't use them?

Also, even if they're useless to the customer, how is that broken? The electrical cord is useless too, but do you consider that part of the negative user experience? Does the kb actually interfere with their experience?

Posted by: DavesBrain at January 2, 2007 01:47 PM

Well, yes, because the keyboard is useless. Electric cords have to be there, even if the customer can't directly use them. However, there is no reason (or at least no clear one) to leave a purposeless keyboard and mouse out.

Also, the article itself says that you can't use the keyboard and mouse, so that argument's invalid.

Nice try, though. ;)

Posted by: The Pondermatic at January 3, 2007 11:27 PM

even if it doesn't interfere, it's still funny to look at.

Posted by: katkat at January 6, 2007 05:09 PM

It would make sense to use entirely by the keyboard (no track-ball or mouse or touch-screen is required). It can also be design so you can use entirely the keyboard or entirely the touch-screen or combination, of your choice (still the track-ball is not required)

Posted by: zzo38 at January 28, 2007 03:38 AM

Comments on this entry are closed

Previous Posts: