Sobey’s Self Checkout Terminal

Processing, processing. Love the IT admin stickers on the screen.

This is a quick shot I took with my phone while I was trying to purchase a bottle of milk and jar of yogurt at the Stratford Sobey’s. The experience was terrible and required 2 attempts on my part. The context of this particular picture was when I had finally gone through a series of extremely complex screens, full of icons which match nothing from my world, and I was attempting to pay. Apparently there was an error on the interact terminal of some sort, the fact of which I didn’t know except that the attendant told as such, and the screen above was in some kind of loop until it received a message that the payment was not processed. I have a tendency to exaggerate, but it’s a complete garbage implementation. If you like usability heuristics, it’s fun to see how it violates: 1) Visibility of System Status, 2) Match between system and the real world, 5) Error Prevention, and 9) Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors. The role of the attendants that work beside these terminals is not to guide new users through an unfamiliar system but to diagnose errors, fix the systems when they inevitably break down, and help people complete their purchases when the look of utter confusion sets in.