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We're developing an app which will be run on a dedicated device on display in a promotional stand.

The app consists of a splash screen and several subsections, one of which allows users to select up to five models from a product line as "favourites" and compare the features of each.

I'm assuming that when a new user arrives at the stand and begins using the comparison section, they'll want it to start as a "blank slate" (i.e., without the previous user's favourites). For this reason, I'd like to clear all favourites when the user leaves the section, in addition to the timeout reset we already have in place.

However, I'm concerned that if a user exits the comparison section and then returns, they may be surprised or frustrated if their existing favourites have been removed.

I'm thinking of adding a confirmation before exiting that explains that the favourites will be cleared, however I'm unsure of the best practices here.

What is the best practice for clearing user input from a kiosk app?

  • How do you plan to create the favourites? It sounds like it's a kiosk, but for longer task/activity than just buying a ticket or two and go. – digsrafik Apr 10 '14 at 14:12
  • If I was using some sort of public machine I would not want or expect any of my data accessible by other people. 1) auto-clear after X seconds of inactivity / "would you like more time" 2) allow the user to log in either via plane ticket, rewards card, or other QUICK scannable ID – TruthOf42 Apr 11 '14 at 15:55
  • @TruthOf42 A few people have mentioned a reset from inactivity, so I probably should have mentioned that we have this in place already. It's also not dealing with sensitive data (though "sensitive" varies from person to person, I suppose), it essentially just allows users to compare models from a product line in a stand promoting those products. I've edited my question to make this more clear. – BiscuitBaker Apr 11 '14 at 16:11
  • Perhaps you can have a "save data for 20 minutes option" with a warning saying this could potentially be seen by another person blablabla, and have them type in a name that they can quickly reference when they come back – TruthOf42 Apr 11 '14 at 16:15
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Create a clearly noticeable "back to start" button. Work from the following user stories:

  • A new user comes to the screen and sees lots of stuff they don't understand. They realize that this is the input from the last user and realize that they should push the "back to start" button to clear the session.

  • A user is in the middle of a session. He is curious about the instructions on the home screen but he realizes that he shouldn't push "back to start", because it would destroy his work.

Create some mockups and do hallway testing for the following questions:

  • Do users who come to a complicated screen understand how to reset it?
  • Is the reset button noticeable enough?
  • Do users in the middle of a session realize that their input will be cleared if they hit the reset button?

Additionally, you might want to reset if there's no activity for a while. With your app, however, I'd be careful not to choose too short a time. People making a comparison can spend quite a lot of time thinking, and will be very annoyed if their thoughts are interrupted by a reset.

Here's a comparable interface; ordering train tickets at a Dutch station. The reset button in in the bottom right corner:

A Dutch train ticket dispenser

As a final thought: confirmation dialogs are usually a bad idea. They interrupt the user's flow and ask more attention than the user wants to give.

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