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Cameron's House of Fun

Fatherhood, politics, education, random thoughts (heavy on the random thoughts) and stuff (always stuff).

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Of User Experiences and Banking

I bank with the Toronto Dominion, their close, they have branches all over the place and they do the things I need them to do. Most of my interaction with them is through the web or through their bank machines. I quite like the web banking experience, the UI and the speed are good. The design is a nice balance of functional and esthetically pleasing.

Now, over the years the TD "Green Machine" (as they call their ATM service/machines) has gone through various incarnations, as has it's UI. In many ways, walking into a TD branch to use the ATM was a bit of a crap shoot, you never knew what machine or UI you were going to get, nor which Recently though they've started the process of consolidation to one standard machine and UI.

On their site they have a whole section on it, how it's better! faster! more! WOW! etc.

Now, me, I hate it. Hate is usually a pretty strong word for some design, but it offends me at a near cellular level.

It used to be the process was: Insert card, choose language on some machines [button 1], enter pin [4 buttons], choose what you want to do [1 button], choose account [1 button] and then enter amount [# of buttons dependent on how much you need/have], then ok.

So a max of 10 - 12 buttons.

Now it's: insert card, the language comes up from your account [-1], enter pin[4], choose what you want to do [1], choose account [1] and, if you're depositing, limber up your fingers for a fun filled fiesta of button pushing [10].

I'm not sure it's actually 10, but it feels like it. You input the amount of the first item (because there is now a list) you are depositing and, if you're done you enter ok (if you have more you enter more), both of these represent a button push, then you are asked if you meant it. Then you are asked if you are ready. Then ou are asked if your brain is still functioning.. then you are asked if you want a reciept and then you are asked if you're done....

The thing that really bugs me, besides the obvious extra button pushing is the long pauses that happen between and after each choice. For someone who works on a computer every day I interpret this pause as either a) crap hardware or b) the machine is about to crash. I'm going to guess that it's meant as a time to reflect on your choices or it's meant to not make you feel rushed or some BS. For me it offers me a chance to take deep breaths. So that I don't assault the machine.

I wondered if the whole idea was to make it easier for older/less geeky users to get their money etc. So I asked my Dad what he thought. This is a man who, rather than memorizing how to save Word docs with a new name memorizes what each Untitled document is. This is a man who periodically boots into DOS to run Lotus 123. This is, in other words, the ├╝ber anti-geek.

So, being very careful not to offend him and suggest that he is anything less than youthful, I asked him how he liked the new machines. It turns out, based on what I extracted from the profanity laced response he gave, that he hates them as much as I do.

So who are they for?

An aside, I find it interesting that Diebold, the manufacture of this machine, can make an annoyingly idiot proof ATM, but can't seem to make a decent voting system.

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