June 16, 2005 | Category:

Design: Cash Machines

I’m off to see a few bands later and figured that, yes, it may actually require money to both get there and get into the venue. Where could one, at 6 in the evening, find a source of money? Surely my local branch would be shut! Then I remembered that cash machines were invented nearly 40 years ago.

Putting my card into the macine I was given a fairly smart UI prompt that I’d never seen before: “This machine is currently unable to vend 10 notes. If you still wish to continue, input your PIN”. Letting the user make an informed choice before they have to piss around with the rest of the options is a good idea. Very nice.

One PIN later and I picked the “Withdraw Cash” option. I was somewhat dismayed with what I saw on the next screen. The options included:

  • £10
  • £30
  • £50

And how are you going to allow those options? Hmm? You’ve no tenners.

UI design hint 3: Don’t offer options to the user that you can’t provide, particularly when you’ve already explicitly told the user that. What a waste of an earlier smart prompt.