· 427 words · 3 minute read

Parking machine at the zoo in Emmen

The ticketmachine
The ticketmachine

Trying to decipher this machine is not easy! Just look at the amount of signs that are necessary, the fancy screen with instructions and the option of calling in help…

Red text: “Discount card! Always insert parking ticket first!” Green text: “Pay in advance. Insert parking ticket. Press daycard”

On the left side of the machine there are two places to insert cards and four labels, above the yellow block a label with the instruction “insert chipknip”, then a label saying “chipknip”, then a label saying “insert parkingticket” and underneath the yellow block a label stating “these cards can be inserted above”. On the right side, the label says “these coins can be inserted” and “these bills can be inserted below”. Creditcards and the parkingticket go in the same slot, eventhough the parkingticket doesn’t look like a creditcard at all. I believe the parkingticket doesn’t even come out before you have to insert your creditcard in the same slot!

As far as I can tell, the idea is that you get a card when you park your car (the parkingticket), with which you can buy a daycard. If you decide not to buy a daycard, you have to pay afterwards by inserting the parkingticket again when you return to your car. If you have a discount card, you can use it to pay less for the parking.

When observing this machine, I’ve seen people trying every slot for their cards, some slots accept multiple cards, others only one. The weirdest thing is that this machine does not offer the default option in the Netherlands: a slot for a debitcard.

Solution #

This machine requires a complete redesign. There’s nothing left to save! But let’s suppose we want to keep all functionality that is currently in the machine.


Since the procedure is in several steps, it makes sense to separate the interface in these steps as well. First, the user has to decide if she wants a daycard or if she wants to pay per hour. Then the parking ticket has to be read. Only then do we need to see the payment options.

I’ve included a sample diagram, but of course it should be user tested :) The diagram is a redesign of the machine, with orange blocks indicating the steps in the procedure. I’ve separated the different payment options and the parking ticket is no longer read by the same device that reads the creditcard. I think it’s a lot clearer already: we need less labels, show more information and we even lost the LCD-screen!