Essay: ATM systems

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  • Subject area(s): Information technology essays
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  • Published on: February 2, 2016
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  • ATM systems
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One of the most important part to designing the ATM usage is to make it as use r-centred as possible. According to Benyon, 2005, the PACT which is stand for People, Activities, Contexts, and Technologies as a useful framework for thinking about a design situation in relation to an interactive system. Performing a PACT analysis would be useful for both analysis and design activities, understanding the current situations, seeing where possible improvements can be made and envisioning future situations. The results of the PACT analysis are presented below.
People
The users groups for this technology include all people with bank accounts, especially UMS students, staff and lecturers. In the established user group, age and sex are not a factor. The technology does assume some previous knowledge and its functions could prove difficult for first time users. Most ATMs translate all signs and button into braille, making it usable by those without eyesight. This specific machine could create difficulties for those with disabilities because of the height of the keypad and its relatively flat orientation on the machine. People with children could also find the placement of the machine inconvenient, as its location is directly next to a main entrance. In addition, the machine have many language options, it is easier for users to use the machine.
Activities
Based on the study, the verification of banking details and the removal of money from ones account. The sub activities include inserting a credit card, entering ones pin number, selecting the amount desired, checking account balances and retrieving receipts. We observed the machine being used often, with one person using it every five minutes. It is important to this system works quickly, as it is meant to be a quick stop and there are often a line of people waiting to use the machine. Besides that, for security purposes, it is unsafe for a user’s account information to stay up too long, as it could be target for theft. The machine is used by individuals, who must be aware of their surroundings, protect their pin number as they enter it. The ATM itself is designed so that important account information that might be printed on a receipt or shown on screen is obscured or not written out in full. If someone wrongfully inputs their pin number, for example, the transaction will be cancelled and they will receive their card back. In some cases, a user could forget their card in the machine, which could result in theft if the card is taken immediately after the user leaves. Otherwise, the machine will retract the card and store it. Also, if a user somehow forgets to take their money, it could be stolen. The current machine performs the basic activities and sub activities well. It works quickly and efficiently to dispense users’ money. The functions, however, are very basic and only the simplest functions can be performed. The location and design of the machine do pose some security risks. The machine is also in a high-traffic area and is open on all sides.
Contexts
An ATM machine location could prove to be a significant factor in the ease of its use. If a machine is located outside, there is the potential for distraction if there is heavy rain, posing security risks. Also, bright sunlight could obscure the display, making it more difficult to use. ATM use tends to be in an open, public area, which goes against the general context and use of banking; it is generally considered to be a private activity. It could include a more private space for the machine. It should also be installed indoors if possible to reduce the potential for distraction and thus reduce security risks. The current system does not take privacy into account; the machine is located directly next to a main entrance. There are also bright lights that cause glare on the display, making it more difficult to read.
Technologies
The input mechanism in the form of a key pad and either a touch screen or buttons adjacent to options on screen are the easiest ways for users to input information, and is the setup of most ATMs. Banking options should be easily visible to users once their identity is verified by the machine. The key pad should be more obscured so that when users input information, privacy is not compromised. ATMs in general, are used by those standing up. However, this poses issues for those in wheelchairs and thus a design idea is to place an additional screen and keypad down lower for those with disabilities. In terms of output, we cannot see any flaws with the current use of a screen to display information. However, one innovation that could be helpful to users is to have receipts e-mailed to them instead of receiving paper receipts that tend to be discarded immediately. Communication is a big factor for ATMs, which need to be able to connect with banks to verify users, account balances, and so on. The content central to this function is the account information being traded between user and machine, as well as between the machine and the banks. Based on the observation, the ATM does not have ideal key pad placement, possibly creating security concerns. Besides that, instructions about card insertion are unclear, the sign above the card slot says to insert the card with the numbers up, while the computer screen asks the user to insert the card with the magnetic strip up. The screen performs the necessary functions, and is convenient for most users, who use the machine standing up. It is not ideal, though, for those with disabilities as the key pad and card slot are a bit too high. The machine communicates with the banks quickly and easily, making money retrieval from this machine a rapid and simple task.
As conclusion, in implementing a new ATM system, the current system employed by most machines is functional and effective. However, there are some concerns with its ease of use when it comes to those with disabilities; many are meant for users standing up, while those in wheelchairs would struggle with the horizontal orientation of the key pad and its height. Additionally, the placement of ATMs should be a key factor when implementing the system. Their ideal location is indoors where distractions like sunlight, weather and noise are mitigated. It is also important for users to have a sense of privacy or enclosure while they conduct their banking. The language a machine employs is also vital to its successful use; limited language capabilities make it difficult for a wide swath of the population to use the system.

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