Self-Serve Begs for Voice

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Standing in the self-serve checkout line, it was a bit silly. There were seven machines. Three were out of order and the other four all had some fault that required an assistant’s intervention.

Self-serve checkouts beg for voice interaction. People aren’t scanning things correctly or are too slow between scanning and putting items into the bagging area. Why couldn’t the system prompt for an input? “Are you having trouble?” “Did you put something in the bagging area without scanning?” etc.

Also, the self-checkouts typically require scrolling through menus to find produce codes. Why not “show me apples”?

Self-checkout systems can be huge areas of disruption but the bottlenecks for getting occasional users to become proficient might be too large. Instead, what if designers bypassed the menus and added a very responsive voice interaction… not to replace but at first just to augment? It could then allow for self-serve for much more complicated situations, like a drive thru.

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