Tips for Developing Kiosk Applications

When you’re developing applications for kiosks, design a user-friendly experience — for merchants and their customers — and monitor trends so your solution delivers in-demand features.

Kiosks have become a fixture in the restaurant industry for self-service ordering, pay at the table, and enhancing customer experiences with reduced wait times. Retailers have also discovered the benefits of using kiosks to give shoppers access to information and the convenience of self-service checkout.

Dustin Alpert, VP of sales and business development of Tapin2, a mobile ordering platform, says there’s also a demand for the convenience and ease that kiosks provide in a number of additional markets such as sports and live events, convention centers, and airports and transportation.

Kiosk Features Your Clients Want

Although you must develop kiosk applications for your clients’ specific businesses, some features are in demand across the board. In addition to facilitating quick service, kiosks should make it easy for a customer to browse a brand’s menus or products. Businesses are also looking for ways to make upselling automatic. “It’s something that doesn’t happen consistently with human interaction,” he says. “A kiosk can make an upsell offer every time — and businesses see check sizes increase.”

By enabling customers to place their own orders and complete their own payment transactions, kiosks can also help businesses eliminate human error and reduce loss that can occur when employees handle cash. Moreover, kiosks give businesses the ability to collect information on customer engagement in brick-and-mortar locations, bridging the gap between physical and digital channels.

Even though using kiosks can improve the consistency and accuracy of operations, their value doesn’t come from replacing human employees. Alpert explains, “They let businesses accomplish more without increasing staff. In the sports events and retail spaces, businesses are replacing a single point of sale with two self-service kiosks, and one staff member is there to assist customers. It’s doing more with the resources you have.” By optimizing the space and resources the business has, kiosks can minimize the need to hire new employees to offer new services and help control labor costs while improving customer experiences.

Businesses also may want to use screen savers or payment screens to display advertisements or partners’ logos.

Make it User-Friendly

Alpert reminds ISVs, “You have to design kiosks for people from ages 5 to 99. You need to make them as user-friendly as possible.”

Screens need to clearly direct the user to accomplish the task they want to do, whether it’s placing an order, making a purchase, checking in for an appointment or trip, or accessing information. Use buttons so users only need to tap to move from screen to screen, and if they need to enter specific information, have a keyboard pop up automatically. Also, guide them through the payment process. “Try to remove as much potential for error as possible,” he says. It’s also helpful to give users a way to get help if they need it.

Things to Remember

Alpert says to make development as easy as possible you should design kiosk software to be as flexible as possible. Each customer’s needs will be different, so it’s smart to develop applications that are easy to adapt. For example, don’t limit the colors the client can use so they don’t have to compromise on the look of their logo. Throughout the development process, Alpert advises working with your customers to make sure screens and graphics display the way your customer wants them to.

Alpert says it’s vital to listen to your clients’ needs and make sure you provide a solution that’s the best fit. For example, Tapin2 integrates Epson printers with kiosks for some clients to enable them to generate, receipts, tickets, or other documents as needed.

Besides listening to your customers, Alpert adds that it’s also important to keep an eye on consumer trends. Watch for a growing interest in emerging technology, such as increased use of Apple Pay and contactless payments, which are now in-demand features for kiosks. Some businesses want kiosks to integrate with social media and, in the sports space, you may need to give ticket holders the ability to watch the action on a kiosk in a suite.

The partnerships you form, whether with hardware vendors or payment processing partners, can give you the ability to deliver total solutions your market wants.  

Bernadette Wilson

Bernadette Wilson, a DevPro Journal contributor, has 19 years of experience as a journalist, writer, editor, and B2B marketer.


Bernadette Wilson, a DevPro Journal contributor, has 19 years of experience as a journalist, writer, editor, and B2B marketer.