Kiosk or People Check-In?
One of the interesting decisions in the design planning for Learning 2012 was about the "technology of registration". Elliott was intrigued with the idea of shifting to Kiosks for registration. Why not have a bank of self-serve kiosks - where participants could enter their name and instantly get a name badge with event tickets?
We shopped around for a kiosk model - from simple tablets to full screen LCD - and the accompanying software/printers. It sure works at airports, why not at our event? Yet, when you come to Learning 2012, you will see this:
Why did we choose People Interaction vis Self-Serve Kiosks?
- Welcome Hello and Connection: Our participants have said they really enjoy the warm welcome they receive from our staff - many of whom they met before. Here, you can see 2 friends from Saratoga Springs, Tommy and Sandie McTygue, who come to Orlando to help greet and welcome our participants.
- Questions Galore & Guidance: It turns out that many of our participants have a simple or complex question as they arrive, and the 3 minutes at the registration booth is an efficient way to get them oriented and briefed.
- Speed? Actually, when we timed out the speed of entering and verifying one's name and then printing the badge at the kiosk - as well as collecting a bag and guide, turned out to be as long, or even longer, than the average time at the counter.
- Kiosk Support? Investigating other conferences that have used Kiosk registration, it turns out there were often a need for a Kiosk Support person and printing supply refresher.
I would imagine that we will continue to look at how technology can make the experience of the conference participant more welcoming, efficient and personalized. Kiosks will grow in their use for check-ins at hotels and other venues. But, at Learning 2012, where we are giving folks a mobile app GPS, high levels of audience engagement with polls and Real-Time input, we say no to Kiosks for Registration, at least for this year. Design Decision: Go for high energy person to person welcome and a human face to their start at Learning 2012.