Travel information kiosks are electronic kiosks in public areas for the presentation of travel information. They may contain:
Kiosks may be funded by the Highway Authority, Public Transport Operator or Commercial Providers. They may be interactive or non-interactive - and located internally or externally. Interactive Kiosks can be touch screen or include a keyboard and tracker ball to enable the user to navigate between pages - and they may also include a printer to provide 'takeaway' information.
The key issue, when designing and specifying kiosks, is the purpose for which they will be used. This informs specification of requirements. For example - if the kiosk is intended to enable the user to plan an immediate local public transport journey from the location of the kiosk, the default setting should enable the user to select the destination and confirm an immediate travel requirement. For popular destinations, this could, with careful design, require only two screen taps or mouse clicks.
It should be recognised that there is always a trade off between simplicity of use and functionality. Optimising the balance between them is the key to success.
Kiosks form part of the built environment - so their physical form and the design language need to be in tune with their construction and the information they present. For example, kiosks may be an integral part of a city wayfinding system - in which case a consistent design approach is necessary to make the wider wayfinding strategy successful.
Data requirements must be considered when designing a kiosk and its user interface. As with all traveller information, it is essential that the information displayed is correct and timely.
Many interactive kiosks may serve a dual purpose - with, for example, a default screen which provides real-time service information on public transport or road congestion. When a user interacts with the kiosk, they may obscure the screen for some time - so user dwell-time must also be considered during the design phase. If it takes the average user 5 minutes to retrieve the information they require, they will obscure the kiosk display for that length of time. This highlights the importance of understanding the use cases - and optimising the interface design - to maximise the value of the kiosk.