After interviewing 9 students, I analysed the answers and thought about the results obtained. Only 9 students i.e. potential users of the ATM machine were interviewed, as I was receiving very similar responses and thought that there is no point asking more people. My initial intention was to ask 20 people though. However, I believe that asking only 9 people has given me enough feedback, so that I can later on improve the ATM machine somehow.
The first question was how clear it is to the user using the system. As the graph shows below, the majority of respondents seem to be very pleased with the prototype. So I think that we have created a user-friendly system conforming to the various design guidelines (http://www-3.ibm.com/ibm/easy/eou_ext.nsf/publish/6) that were taught us in one of the lectures.
I assume that people find the system easy to use because we have kept the design of the system very simple by conforming to current ATM machine designs. As we know, current ATM machines already provide a very simple interface making it user-friendly for all types of users whether he is a beginner or somebody who might actually be manufacturing these types of machines.
In addition, the system does not put too much information on one single screen. This is good, so that the user is not 'bombarded' with too much information and avoids the user getting confused.
As you can also see from the first screenshot i.e. the screen that allows users to select which function they want to use on the system the new function of opening bank accounts has been nicely integrated into the existing ATM machines rather than creating a new separate ATM machine with a new look/design. This has also the advantage that if this system does get used in the real world, the implementation costs for banks would be significantly reduced. This also has the advantage that users, who have used ATM machines before, would not need to learn how to use this new function of opening bank accounts.
Even though icons such as a question mark for help would have been a good idea to include into the prototype but since it is just a prototype, I believe it is not absolutely vital.
Although the diagram shows that the majority of people find the system clear to use, it would still be good if we could come up with new ideas of how to create 'very clear' usability. One comment that was made by a respondent was that he think that the use of the system is not quite clear, because someone who does not know about the system can get confused about what the function to open bank accounts actually is, how to use it etc.
However, in response I told him that when banks market the ATM machine (for opening bank accounts) that a lot of people will know about it. But after thinking about it again, I think that I was not quite right. Marketing the ATM machine on the TV, newspaper, radio etc will not be enough. The adverts can only show a small glimpse about the system; it cannot give a tutorial on how to actually use the system. So, there is space for improvement in this respect.
The next diagram below shows the responses received for the question how the user rate the design of the system i.e. the look and feel of the ATM machine.
We are all very pleased that I got the initial design/prototype on paper right, which was then created by Anup in NetBeans. I have created several websites before and I always create use-friendly, simple systems/websites. So, I guess it has helped me in doing this task. Even though the majority of people think that it is a good user interface, it would be great if the 'appealing' votes could be converted into 'very appealing'. However, it could also be the case that people overheard it when I told them that this is only a prototype and that they should not worry too much about the design. For example they do not to criticise the prototype if they think that a button could have been 5mm to the right. But still it is a good interface. Had we more time and we knew that this system will be used in the real-world then of course there would have been a very rigorous prototype in place. Overall, you can see that this is a presentation prototype which we thought is the most suitable one for this purpose to show what the system looks like.
The third question that potential users were ask was that whether they think if they had not used an ATM machine before if they think the usability of the system is intuitive or easy to learn. None of the people asked were in that situation – everyone has debit or credit cards and has used an ATM machine before. However, we still asked them if they could think back when they had not used an ATM machine before and if they would have thought at that time that this new function of the ATM machine would have been easy enough for them to learn.
As the graph shows below, the majority of respondents thought that they would have been able to use this new function if they had not used an ATM machine before. Asking them about the reason for their answer, most of the people said that the interface is very ‘simple’ and ‘fresh’ which makes it easy to learn. One person also said that anyone who had ‘used a computer a before should have any trouble figuring out how the ATM machine works’.
On the other hand, there were still two people who thought that this would have been the case for them as they thought that a bit more information on the screens would be better. So, this is one of the improvements that could be made. But it’s still important to bear in mind that this is just a prototype which is bound to only show the important details. A real world system would have a bit more information, of course.
The next question we asked people was whether they thought that the ATM machine as designed now meets their requirements of the system i.e. opening a new bank account using their current debit or credit card.
As you can see from the diagram below that over 80% of respondents thought that the ATM machine as designed by us meets their requirements. I do not know why two people said that they think it does not meet their requirements and neither did we actually ask them. However, this is certainly something that we need to take into consideration when it comes to revising this prototype for a second time.
This question is very much related to the usability question and hence solving the problem with the usability will also eliminate this problem.
Finally, we asked people for any suggestions for improvements in terms of usability or functionality they think could be made to the ATM machine we designed.
One of the issues that was raised by over 80% of respondents was security. As soon as the user inserts his credit or debit card, the details are read by the ATM machine. Afterwards, all the details about the card holder such as name, address, bank details etc are displayed on the screen.
This is actually a serious problem which we did not think of when creating the prototype. To give you an example why this is a problem: Let's say that person A looses his credit/debit card and person B suddenly spots the card belonging to person A. Person B picks up the credit/debit card, goes to one of the ATM machines and next he inserts the card. After the data has been read by the ATM machine off the credit/debit card, person B can commit to illegal offences: a) he can view/obtain the details about person A and then commit identity theft or b) open a new bank account pretending to be person A. This is a serious flaw in our prototype and we need to seriously consider this issue.
Then 2 people also said that the ATM machine should allow them to open various types of bank accounts. Luckily the prototype was designed in such a way that this function was spotted. So this shows that it is was the right choice to choose a presentation prototype. Anyway, the next revised prototype should allow users to select from a range of bank accounts such as current accounts, savings accounts and business accounts.
The third suggestion that was made, which actually gave our idea a whole new twist, was about the ATM machine allowing you to select where i.e. which bank the user wants to open a new bank account at.
If you read back one of the previous postings, you will notice that our initial idea was that all the different banks wishing to add on this new function would have their own ATM machine like it is now the case. However, one person suggested that the ATM machine should be 'generic'. This means that just like you can use one of those ATM machines hanging outside buildings, shops or even kiosks inside small shops to withdraw money, similarly this ATM machine should allow you to open bank accounts.
This means that if a user for example is so fed up with a bank, he could just go down to the nearest ATM machine, which may be fitted outside some building perhaps shop, and open a new bank account at a different bank. Life could not be easier or more convenient. This is something we thought about and came to the conclusion that it is a good idea. In fact, we were surprised why we did not come up with this idea in the first instance. So, this is definitely a change that you will see in the next revised prototype.
The last interesting point that was raised by a person was that the system should cater for translations. As far as we know, there is no ATM machine at the moment which allows a user speaking a different language other than English to use the system in his own native language.
This is a valid suggestion, but we have not decided yet whether we want to include this improvement feature into our ATM machine. Perhaps it is not necessary as the scope of our project is to come up with an ATM machine that allows you to open a new bank account using your current credit or debit card; we are not trying to improve current ATM machines as they are.