Context is Vital When You Work with Instore Concepts
As a UX designer, I always think about the user's journey into the digital solutions I work on. This also applies when I work on Instore concepts for our customers. Here it is extremely important to do very thorough research of the context in which the installation should be placed. Interaction with a digital installation in a public space has some social consequences that are important to take into account.
Here are some examples of challenges with an outdoor installation in the winter:
Evenings are getting darker, the weather is colder, and people have more outerwear. The temperature, layers of clothing, and especially gloves can be challenges when interacting with a screen.
The location of the installation is extremely important. Is it located somewhere the user can stand in peace? Is there a trash can beside it that can prevent people from stopping? Is it located somewhere accessible and easy to find?
It is also important to study the physical flow of people - how do people move around, for example, on a street or in a shopping mall? Does the installation break the natural flow of passers-by (which may not be a very good idea)?
Interaction with the Instore solution differs from what we know
It is also worth considering what forms of interaction and gestures (e.g. swipe) are used, because the screens are often a bit bigger in a public space. This means we have to question some of the ‘best practices’ we know about smaller screens.
For example, dragging can hurt the finger on a very large screen (or on a touch screen window)
Swiping may seem disgusting to the user if the screen is dirty (therefore, it must be cleaned every day). It sounds trivial, but it's important if people need to use the screen.
You can give users a good experience that they’ll remember
When users interact with a digital solution with their entire body (as they want to do with a big digital solution), the experience goes much deeper than it would if they were at home on their smartphone doing exactly the same. This allows us to stay in the user’s consciousness much longer - and that’s a window of opportunity we need to seize.