In theory, self service tills at shops should have benefited everyone.

  • Faster throughput of customers
  • Happier customers as they are queing less

In practice, this simply isn’t the case as complicated interfaces and temperamental scales make users wary of them, especially the dreaded  ”unintended item in the packing area” message

My local Marks and Spencers in Swansea often has a queue of pensioners for the standard checkout while the self service till remain empty.

As with any new technology, people often find a way around the issue.

One of the biggest problems is that the machines don’t seem to be able to cope with the huge variety of shopping bags that people carry around and will frequently throw up error messages which then require a staff member to deal with.

Most machines will ask you to place your bags on the machine at the beginning of the process.

What I’ve observed people doing is to put their bags down to the side of the machine and tell the machine they haven’t brought any.

They then proceed to

  1. Scan each item
  2. Place in the bagging area
  3. Pay
  4. Then add the items to their bag

The 4th step can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on the shop.

All the while you’ve got a queue of people who are getting increasingly irritated


This video describes the two ways that you can leave comments on an Adobe Acrobat document


Homebase SEO: How not to redirect old pages

April 11, 2014

Following on from yesterdays post about how Homebase appears to have forgotten about SEO in their new site launch, I decided to take a look at how they handled redirecting pages on the old site to the new site. For quite a few products, the page has stayed the same so this isn’t an issues. [...]

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Oops – Who forgot to SEO the new Homebase website?

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Oops – Who forgot to SEO the new Homebase website? Homebase has just relaunched their website and it looks like someone forgot to do any search engine optimisation. Go to any page on the website and look at the source code and you’ll see this. Looks like someone forgot to populate these fields with any [...]

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If you haven’t studied real live humans interacting with your site, it’s pretty likely that you’re missing the small, but very important details on what annoys them. Over the years, we’ve run usability tests for companies such as Disney, Chelsea, Travelodge and Nickelodeon’s. Each time, there was something in the design that stopped people in [...]

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WHSmiths Website Holding Page and Google Analytics

October 14, 2013

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10+ Ways To Destroy Your Google Analytics Implementation – Your Feedback Please

September 18, 2013

Last Saturday, I ran a session at Measurecamp III in London called ’10 or more ways to destroy your Google Analytics Installation After presenting the talk, there was lively discussion about the topic with plenty more good examples which I updated my original deck with. What I’d like to do know is open up the [...]

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Effective Ways To Use Your Thank You Page

August 15, 2013

The Thank You page that appears when someone has filled out a form on a site often states nothing more than ‘Thank You’ when it could be used for so much more, especially as the visitor has actively chosen to interact with your site. The following example from the Cabinet Office shows how they increased [...]

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Walking Up Kilimanjaro

April 22, 2013

On May 10th, I’m attempting to walk to the top of Kilimanjaro. I’m raising money for Practical Action, so please consider sponsoring me via my JustGiving page If you’d like to know a little more about the trip, I’ve setup a microsite at 

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