What to look for when buying a touch screen kiosk?
How many years of warranty am I going to get?
Warranty term is a very good indication of hardware quality. For most customers high up time is a key criterion in their buying decision. Be wary of kiosk manufacturers who only offer a 1 year warranty.
What type of touch screen technology is used?
Most reputable kiosk manufacturers use SAW, Capacitive or Infrared technology in their kiosk screens. Be wary of manufacturers who use resistive technology. This technology is cheaper, but their thin plastic screen overlay can be damaged easily by vandals cutting the screen or even by the cleaning crew using the wrong solutions. In addition to being easily damaged, the layers of plastic and glass mean that these screens have the worst optics.
Ensure that the kiosk can communicate your branding
The ability to brand a kiosk is essential in communicating the purpose of the kiosk as well as delivering your brand to your potential customers. Ideally a kiosk should also be able to be relatively easily re-branded should the need arise.
In addition, look for a kiosk whose look and feel is modern, clean and contemporary. A kiosk that is purely practical may not communicate the brand message that you want to convey.
Choose a desk-top box over a single board computer
Very small desk-top computers from major suppliers like Asus and Acer are hard to beat on price and performance. They have the advantage of being able to be configured according to your specifications so that you are not paying for features you don’t require. Even more importantly, they can come with the processing power that your application demands.
Up-time can also be much higher. Parts are generally available or else they can be quickly swapped over with a replacement machine. Be careful of single board computers (SBCs) which are only generally recommended where the kiosk design doesn’t have the space for a desk-top computer.
Ask for a printer with a presenter
Of all the components in a touch screen kiosk, the printer is the most likely to have technical problems, such as jamming. Reputable kiosk suppliers recommend printers for self-service applications that have a presenter. This feature stops the paper so that it isn’t visible to the customer until printing is complete. After the paper is cut, the presenter ejects the paper. This prevents customers from grabbing the paper while it is printing and potentially damaging the printer.
Thermal printers have few moving parts and are extremely dependable. The print heads are good for hundreds of thousands of prints, and the only part that needs to be replaced in the interim is the paper roll.
Find out how serviceable the touch screen kiosk is
No kiosk is 100 percent fail-safe, so you will require field service at some point. A kiosk should be designed to be easy to work on. You shouldn’t have to remove a bunch of parts from a kiosk for a simple maintenance call. Look inside the kiosk before you purchase it. Can parts be easily accessed? Well designed kiosks have a simple interior layout, with components that could even be swapped over by a relatively unskilled person.
Ask yourself what you feel about the touch screen kiosk design
Today’s kiosks must be attractive, inviting, easy to use and must create an emotional resonance with the user. If you don’t love the design, your customers probably won’t either, and if they don’t like it, they won’t want to use it.
Ask if you can come in and “kick the tyres”
Nobody has magic suppliers that can give them the best product for the cheapest prices. If it’s too cheap to believe, it probably is.
Visit your kiosk manufacturer and check the build quality.
- Is the fit and finish right?
- Do the doors close properly?
- Generally, just by looking at items like keyboards and printers, you can tell when something doesn’t seem to be built to last.
The public can be tough on kiosks. Trying to save a dollar now might cost you many more dollars later due to broken hardware and down time.