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Some car parks in the UK have ticket machines which ask for the car's registration plate so that the ticket is bought for a specific vehicle (this stops people giving half used tickets to other vehicles coming into the car park)

This is the letter and number interface on the machine. It has to be tall and narrow as the ticket machine is tall and narrow. I (and clearly the people who I had to wait behind) had trouble quickly picking the letters and numbers from the keypad.

How could it be improved ? ( A numberplate has a AB12 CDE format)

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  • This layout is quite "user un-friendly". – roetnig Jan 2 '17 at 10:05
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  • Creating groups: for example one for the numbers other for the letters; maybe also for the first half of the alphabet and for the second half.
  • Using a different color for numbers and letters.
  • Displaying the letters and numbers horizontally rather than vertically. I think it is easier to scan the content the way we read (left to right and from a to z). Also the first letter of each line helps to find the row/column we are looking for. As the interface is much taller than wide it's easier to do so horizontally with 8, for example, (horizontal) lines rather than 3 (vertical) ones.
  • I wondered if there was any research / sources about the 'list horizontally' rather than 'list vertically' as this must come up in quite a few aspects of interface design. – PhillipW Jan 1 '17 at 12:33
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    Just some ideas. I think it is easier to scan those numbers the way we read. It's easier to scan the first letter of each line and find which line the character is. As the interface is much taller than wide, it's easier to do so horizontally, with 8 lines rate than 3. – Alvaro Jan 1 '17 at 12:37
  • Agreed. Horizontal feels more natural. If the number column was to the right of the letters, then it would be possible to add a highlight to the first letter of the row as well, so the overall organisation scheme was obvious at a distance. – PhillipW Jan 1 '17 at 16:00
  • Maybe they should consider just adding a small QWERTY keyboard :) – Jason Cemra Jan 2 '17 at 7:02
  • @PhillipW Western languages writing go from left to right and top to bottom. – roetnig Jan 2 '17 at 10:06

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