Aug 15, 2006

Bank-visit causes pain in the neck(Importance of information design in physical spaces)

Information design is not only limited to the software screens that we design, it has to be designed keeping in mind the users, physical environment and ergonomics as well.

I recently visited a bank after a very long time. After ATM’s, visits to banks have become very rare. The cash withdrawal limit in ATM's forced me to do so.
Entered the bank and found a receptive amd smiling clerk who pointed out to a token dispenser. So far so good.

The token dispenser had approximately eight different buttons with pretty self descriptive labels against them. For e.g.: press here incase of cash withdrawal above 50,000.

Once you press the button, you get a token slip with a number. This experience is fine till here. Now the experience degrades and becomes a pain in the neck. Literally.

There are a row of chairs and one is expected to await your turn till a display TV panel placed very close to seating area, flashes your number. The only problem is that the TV panel is at a height of 12 feet. This is the most idiotic case of bad ergonomics you sit at a level of 2.5 feet and have to literally strain your neck to see whether your number has come. And to make things worse, the only indicator that the number has changed is a beep. So that means you will always look up whenever there is a sound regardless of the sequence of the numbers displayed.

This was very discomforting and left me with a pain in the neck. What does this say about the bank’s concern for giving the customer a pleasant experience? Or are they completely clueless? I wonder whether I could sue if I faced a similar experience in the US:-)


Joydeep said...

I'm not quite so sure. I believe the banking experience in Singapore (per say) should not be too different from anywhere in the US, i might be wrong but. However the token, the beep, the seating arrangement, and the constant lookups are common, only the ergonomics of the chairs might make a difference there. To make it worse - i have this account with UOB in Singapore- the seating arrangement was about 30-40 yards from the actual helpdesks which were organised in a circular hallway(so you get to see only half the personnel and their desks, the other is eclipsed at all times), so people who could actually sense their turn were running around frantically trying to figure a shortest path to the desknumber they'd been assigned. I remember walking up to the person attending me with a wry smile as she was on the shortest tangential approach from where I was seated.

Masood Nasser said...

they could also think of ergonomic displays, like keeping the dispay counter at a much lower level. OR, nuch better, have a device instead of a paper token that buzzes onceit is your turn.