Field Agent Mason, Reporting In

I decided this afternoon that I’ve neglected my adoring public (bwa-ha) too long.  So, in good spirits I present to you- kiosk success stories from the field!   While neither are Electronic Art projects, I think we can glean valuable lessons for future projects from these two kiosks. Case #1: a retail store kiosk for hair color product.  For me, the magic of this kiosk was the placement and enclosure.  It was very relevant, mounted on an end cap shelf right next to the product, not shoved off in a corner somewhere easily ignored.  It was also very inviting and unobtrusive. The clear call to action grabbed my attention right away – not because I’m obsessed with kiosks, but because the designers made it very clear what the piece was meant to accomplish, and that human interaction was called for.   So high marks to this project for placement and enclosure design.  However, I couldn’t tell you without being there what product line the kiosk represented, because there was no branding on the enclosure, or even the software design (which was just a flat, white background with copy).  While the application was straightforward and quickly accomplished its goal, I was hooked and wanted to do more – but alas there was no ‘more’.   The lesson:  placement – don’t hide your kiosk;  intent – make it clear and inviting to passers by; design – simple and elegant, but beware of boring; and hook – utilize the opportunity to engage the user for a second touch later – invite them to sign up for email blasts or future promotions.    Case #2:  a convention center ‘concierge’ kiosk.   Found in the lobby of a local convention center,  this piece is noteworthy because of the smart utilization of the area around the actual kiosk.   For this unit, the manufacturers not only used a smart enclosure – giving them opportunities for advertising, design appeal, and instructions on the base of the kiosk, maximizing impact.   They also chose to use a digital sign placed above the kiosk to really pull people in with brightly colored ads and promotions of upcoming events and attractions.   The footprint for this piece was pretty small and unobtrusive overall, but the people behind the project really utilized all of that small space very effectively. The lesson: you’re investing a lot in the project, make the most of your enclosure and the ‘free’ space around it.

Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Missing Kiosk

Ok… so if you know me or have read Electronic Art’s blog very much, you know that I have a strange obsession with the kiosk in my local Biggs (Biggs is a grocery store chain – for those of you who don’t live in the ‘Nati). It had this great, robust application with a recipe finder, wealths of information on health issues, recommended diets – things like that. I saw it and was instantly in love with it in a ‘what a great idea!’ kind of way.

So, I wrangled Paulie b. (my husband – for those of you who may be first-time readers) into grocery shopping with me on Sunday, and I was all excited as I rounded the corner by the dairy case – finally, Paul would get to experience the wonder of my new favorite … what the? IT WAS GONE! What happened to my kiosk?? Could it be that this understated work of convenience genius was so neglected that they just unplugged it and shipped it away? So I started thinking about the overall success of kiosks like that one – what would make such a great concept not so successful at market? Is there something more we should be doing to let people know that these kiosks are in place for THEIR use – something to more openly invite one and all to interact? Could signage be the answer? Custom enclosures? It’s certainly food for thought on future kiosk projects – the success of it will have to start before the hardware or the application behind the hardware – it will have to make people feel comfortable and willing to interact. Most of us have grown up in times that taught us ‘if it looks expensive, it is – don’t touch it , you might break it,’ so the challenge in front of us is to break those deeply ingrained habits.

Electronic Art Recovering from ‘Stache-Off Turmoil

Checking in from Week #3 of the ‘Stache-Off. This week started off with a surprising turn of events as competitor Jered Smith withdrew from the event, marking our first entry onto the DL. After suffering a Mandibular Follicular Fracture, he will be recovering at an undisclosed clinic in Florida. Taking his place in the competition will be Dan O’Keeffe of O’Keeffe Communications. Be sure to check out Dan’s stats on our Official ‘Stache-Off Page, and give him your support, as he attempts to overturn the competition with ONE WEEK of growth. Good luck, Dan!

A Fine Line, Indeed.

Musing late yesterday afternoon about some very interesting application possibilities involving geolocation technology (location-based services), and  I had that hair-raising moment when I realized how much creepy potential lies therein (hey, I read Orwell’s 1984…). There’s something comforting about being able to drop off of everyone’s radar if you choose to do so. So there it is: the line. That fine line between a super-useful and convenient technology, and a very disconcerting surrendering of privacy. But in reading today, maybe Yahoo has the answer to this conundrum in a little thing they call Fire Eagle. The difference is that Fire Eagle is permissions-based – giving your marketing efforts mobile accessibility while leaving your audience in control of their experience.   Check out the whole story.

‘Stache-Off ’08 Update!

One-week into the ‘Stache-Off ’08, and I’m already jealous of all the stachetastic fun the guys are having! *sigh* My sad string cheese faux-stache aside, the GOOD news is: we have competition progress for you! We decided to give the ‘Stache-Off its own events page, so you can easily keep track of your favorite stacheletes. Just in time to help you celebrate the kick-off of the Beijing Summer Games, we bring you the Official Electronic Art ‘Stache-Off ’08 Event Page.

“When I went to the Olympics, I had every intention of shaving the mustache off, but I realized I was getting so many comments about it – and everybody was talking about it – that I decided to keep it. “ – Mark Spitz

Kiosks for Everyone!

Being still a ‘newbie’ in the kiosk industry, I remain in that fledgling state of fascination at all of the different kiosks I find at work in my own small corner of the world.  Last week, it was a multi-function piece in a Biggs Hypermarket dairy section that gave me a window into all kinds of information from recipes to which diet is right for me and other health-related issues.  This week, it was a kiosk for children (yes CHILDREN!) at IKEA, where kids can play games and draw via touchscreen while their parents ‘play’ in the staged homes of the store.  With this ever-growing level of accessibility and now the introduction of kiosks to young children, the mind reels to think of the endless possibilities.   As I see the self-service footprint growing around me, I grab my husband’s hand and shout my battle cry: ‘LOOK! Kiosk!’ and charge with camera-phone in hand (I’d post the images, but alas, it’s not a GREAT camera-phone and would do no justice to my subjects). My husband replies ‘You are such a nerd.’

‘Stache-Off ’08

Here at Electronic Art, we’re a socially-aware bunch. And just to prove it, we’re supporting the 2008 Beijing Olympics with a little competition of our own – the E.A. ‘Stache-Off ‘08. On August 1st, the handsome men of Electronic Art will shorn themselves back to a natural, moustache-free state and let the growing begin (Guy Dillon has been granted exception in the shaving by the staff as he already has an admirable and stately mustache the likes of which should not be messed with). Each contestant will then grow his (or her? Uhhh … ) facial hair for a duration of 24 consecutive days. No Rogaine, Monoxidil or other hair growth supplements allowed. Random screening for such chemical enhancers will be performed throughout the competition and ‘dopers’ will be disqualified. Judging will be held on August 25th and winners announced by COB on that day. Photographs of the competition will be shared right here on our blog – don’t miss out. Postings will include pre-competition shots as well as interim progress shots and of course, the final judging shots. Winners of the following categories will be announced: change in appearance, style, presentation at judging, and of course the overall best moustache category. If you would like to participate in the E.A. ‘Stache-Off ’08, feel free to submit pre-competition and judging photos for consideration.

“Love is a present that can be given every single day you live.
Learn Chinese: hú zi – mustache. “

-Chinese Fortune Cookie