Interactive Technology Observation

Tech Observation

October 30th, 2010 in Home Categories by 0 Comments

For this assignment, we had to observe a piece of interactive technology in public that is used by multiple people, and jot down some notes about the interaction.

In the two main buildings that make up NYU Stern, there are special entryways for students to use. Instead of having security check everyone’s ID, they allow the entryway gates to do it. Ideally, a student walks up to the gate, swipes their card, gains access to the building by having the glass gates swing open. It is a very simple device that is meant to keep non-NYU people out of the building.

I located myself in the corner of the lobby to watch how these entryways are used. Given that it was a crowded lobby during the lunch hour, I blended with the students. The majority of students walk up with their cards in their hands and ready to swipe as they get near the entryway. They then have to wait for a second or two become the device gives then the green arrow and the gates swing open. The gate seems to work for most students.

Then there are those students who have issues with the entryways. Some of them do not have their cards ready, so they have to stop, block pedestrian traffic while they look for their card. Other times students swipe their cards, and the gate doesn’t grant them access. Students either get frustrated or annoyed, and try multiple times until the gates swing open. At closer inspection, the card has to be swiped with the magnet strip facing away from the student in order for the machine to read it. Other issue that seems to handicap the entryway is that the card reader is placed horizontal to the student. This causes a significant amount of traffic as students stop, swipe their cards, and wait for the gate to open

If the card reader was placed vertically, it would allow students to swipe and walk at the same time, decreasing waiting time and pedestrian congestion in front of the entryway. Another modification that would help would be if the card reader was designed to so that it can read the the magnetic strip either way it was inserted into the device. With these two modifications, the interaction with the entryway would be exponentially faster.

A good transaction takes about 2-3 seconds, while a bad transaction takes over 5 seconds.

Another thing to point out is that the designer of this entryway assumes the users are predominantly right-handed. If the left-handed reader is swiped, the gate on the left of the user will open instead of the one if front of him/her. I guess its assumed that the majority of users will be right-handed.

Author: ezraezra

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