The hospital lobby can be a stressful place. Long wait times, confusing layouts, and cumbersome check-in procedures can leave patients and visitors feeling anxious and lost. Through user-centered design principles, we’re developing an AI-powered kiosk to streamline the lobby experience and empower patients to navigate with confidence.

But how do we ensure this kiosk, with its potentially unfamiliar technology, feels intuitive and user-friendly? The answer lies in User Experience (UX) design. By focusing on UX principles, we can create a kiosk that leverages existing knowledge and familiar interactions, reducing anxiety for everyone.

Affordances: Design that Speaks for Itself

Affordances refer to the way an object’s design suggests its functionality. For our kiosk, this means using visual cues that clearly communicate its purpose. Imagine Sarah, a young, educated woman visiting the hospital. The kiosk’s design should instantly tell her it’s there to help, even if she’s not familiar with AI technology. Here’s how we’re incorporating affordances:

1. Large and clear signage: This universally understood symbols would signal the kiosk’s primary function along with the words ‘self-check-in’.

2. Simple text: “Self Check-In” displayed prominently would be much more useful than having complicated jargon that she might not understand.

3. Visible Interactivity: The kiosk’s design must incorporate elements that communicate how to interact with it. This could include a brightly lit border around the edges of the interaction zone, strategically placed hand icons, or subtle animations that activate upon approach.

4. Signifiers: Adding a footprint sticker on the floor in front of the kiosk would be considered a psychological signifier to prompt an action. This common visual cue, similar to those seen outside ATMs or elevators, would subtly prompt Sarah to stand in the designated area to begin the self-service process.

Intuitive Design: Borrowing from Familiar Experiences

People are more comfortable with things that resemble what they already know. Our goal is for the kiosk to feel like an extension of familiar experiences, reducing the learning curve for users. Here’s how we’re achieving this:

ATM inspiration: The check-in process would borrow elements from ATMs, with clear on-screen instructions guiding Sarah through each step. Just like selecting an account option on an ATM, she could choose tasks like “check-in,” “update appointment details,” or “find a doctor.”

Smartphone influence: The kiosk’s interface would mirror the layout of common apps. Large, clear buttons and a logical flow from login to confirmation would feel instantly recognizable to Sarah, similar to using apps on her phone.

Through these UX principles, we’re creating an AI-powered kiosk that feels welcoming and approachable, not intimidating.

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