Throughout many industries and sectors there are examples of installed customer counters which have been badly designed from the outset. They have occurred because there isn’t a single standard. Instead there are many ambiguous and vague standards for both customers and employees. They are also the result of poor understanding and appreciation of ergonomics and inclusive design within the design process.Many of the customer counters installed have adopted crazy and bizarre concepts which have emerged from whimsical design appeal, rather than any practical and inclusive approach to design. All too often this has contributed to errors and mistakes which then require redesigning, rebuilding and, inevitably, additional costs.
The ticket office is, arguably, the most important part of a development project. It is a component used by many thousands, if not millions, of people. Crucially, it is the place where customers are face-to-face with staff to buy tickets and get information. For both the retail operator and the customer, it is likely to be the first point of contact and it needs to reflect the organisations’ brand values’ and customer focus. This makes the design, specification detail and quality of huge importance from the outset: it must not risk either omissions or compromises during the procurement and build process.
Complex work environments
Ticket offices are also ‘complex working environments’. They are:
As cash handling environments, there is also the requirement to create a secure place for staff to work. Ignoring employee welfare, well-being and safety during the design process will have consequences for the operational efficiency of the facility.
At Ideas, we have identified the range of relevant standards for customers and employees. We have used this research to shape the processes used in our design development and product design. This has enabled us to develop a standard modular customer counter and security window product.
The key features of this customer counter and security window include:
From a customer perspective, our ticket counter design comprises a continuous dual height fixed counter concept for a customer transaction position. This is accessible to ambulant standing, wheel chair users, and people of lower stature. Part of this design is a novel transaction tray - DFA Cash Tray. It is located between the upper and lower counter to assist seated customers and people of lower stature. (Patent Application No: 1121376.6). Another key component is the extendable arm for a chip and pin unit. This is an important design detail for all customers, but particularly for wheelchair users and people of lower stature. It enables easy use of the chip and pin device at the lower level counter without having to over reach. This achieves greater visibility and easier operation and makes it easier for users to have privacy when entering their PIN number.
Ideas counter and ticket office products are unique. Our design process includes ergonomic and inclusive design factors as well as accommodating numerous standards from both customer and employee perspectives. This has now been adopted by the rail sector in the UK. Our commitment to inclusive design and ergonomics has led to Ideas being recognised as the UKs leading experts in the design, ergonomics and manufacturing of inclusive customer counters and security windows for ticket offices.
"Our commitment to inclusive design and ergonomics has led to Ideas being recognised as the UKs leading experts in the design, ergonomics and manufacturing of inclusive customer counters and security windows for ticket offices."