The ATM redesigned

Redesigning the userinterface of the ATMs focussing on information architecture and clearity

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On physicalinterface.com there is an interesting article about the designproces of the new user interface for the Wells Fargo ATMs. These new designs make use of a touchscreen. An important improvement is the clear and fresh interface, and how the information is structured within the screens. It’s a combination of good information architecture and simple but clean design.To achieve this the designer and information architect had to work closely together to come up with a visual language which should not only be clear and informative, but should also feel very friendly.

Weither they fully succeeded in accomplishing their goals within this design, that is something which can be questioned. Especially when you start looking at the context in which these machines are used. As you already might have noticed from the image left, these ATMs have a lot of functionality. Next to checking your balance and and withdrawing cash you can make transfers, deposit money (also in the form of checks), buy stamps and even customize the user interface.

Now imagine an ATM like this in a big bank in the centre of Amsterdam or London where even now there’s almost always a queue of at least 3 people. Research of the designers of these ATMs has shown that the most common functions are checking your balance and withdrawing cash (which take a relatively short amount of time compaired to the other available functions). They also mentioned that the reason why other functions are used less, is because users are less comfortable with them. So they focussed on this in their designprocess.

So if they succeeded in letting the user feel more comfortable in using all of the functionality, this might result in a longer average time which users spend operating the ATM. As a consequence it’s most likely that there will be longer queues in front of the machine. Maybe splitting up functionality amongst different machines?

Dennis Koks

Dennis Koks (1987, The Netherlands) is a designer | conceptual thinker for interactive media and co-founder of Transparent Spaces. Dennis is fascinated about the social impact of interactive design and how it can improve our daily lives.

3 comments on this article

  1. Pingback: » The ATM redesigned

  2. I’ve seen ATM machines like this in the US. They usually aren’t found in the city center, but on the outside of the respective bank.
    It’s a no-brainer that you shouldn’t place a machine like this in an area with high foot traffic, but they can be very handy.

  3. @Joel hehe yeah it is, isn’t it. But still, i think you can go a lot further in this than just the placement of the machines.

    Compare it with male and female toiletrooms. There’s almost never a queue at the man’s while the women’s almost always have a big queue (off course we’re a bit quicker, but that isn’t the only factor). It’s because the male toiletrooms have urinals and normal toilets. By seperating functions you can reduce the time spend standing in line.

    So even when placed within a normal bank, it’s still worth taking into account.