Redbox Kiosk Usability

redbox-screenIf you’ve visited a Redbox kiosk to pickup a DVD you reserved online, and mistakenly gone to the wrong kiosk then you might have seen this error message. In Chicago you’ll frequently find two kiosks side by side, so it’s easy to forget which one you’re supposed to get your DVD from when you arrive there a while after you’ve reserved it. You can click on the image above to get a larger view of the text they display, but looking at that screen, what’s good or bad from a usability perspective?

Here are two things I observed:

  1. It’s unclear that an error has occurred. I actually stood there for a minute thinking the machine was finding the DVD for me still, because I didn’t read the small print. Instead I interpreted it as, “the kiosk is still looking up your reservation and finding the disc inside the kiosk” instead of what they meant which is, “oh no! we can’t find your reservation at this kiosk”
  2. The error message is generic, and not customized to my problem.

A couple of changes I would want to make to this are:

  1. Change the title to be something like, “We can’t located on this kiosk, but….”
  2. If the credit card swiped matches a reservation, check if you can fulfill it from this kiosk anyway, if so don’t even show an error message and just fulfill the reservation.
  3. If the credit card swiped matches a reservation but you can’t fulfill it from this kiosk (that particular disc isn’t available), show the user where they should be going to get it. If it’s the other kiosk, just say that, or if it’s at a different address, show the address and a map of how to get there.
  4. If the credit card swiped doesn’t match any reservation (on any kiosk) display a message such as “I’m sorry we don’t recognize that credit card. Did you happen to use a different credit card for your reservation”
  5. Provide contact information for customer support on the error page

Ultimately the goal is to provide contextualized clues to direct the user to solve their problem rather than ambiguous errors, and whenever possible work around your user’s mistake (i.e. autocorrect).


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