They look neat, the cute magnetic card readers of most handhelds. They are small, compact and users swipe transversely. Nevermind that short read zones produce more read errors. Okay, so the staff that have to work with it sometimes get frustrated or the customers respond with derision to the frantic magnetic stripe wiping that takes place… they look good.
Form becomes important when we understand that the main reasons for reading failures are shaky drag gestures, usually caused by a lack of guidance. If magnetic stripe readers are not seen as an integrated part of the service tool, but just as an accessory, there’s often less space for effective guidance. Then cards are just pulled across the front, or through readers mounted on the bottom shell which are not much bigger than the cards themselves.
This is a clear case for “form follows function” and against “keeping it small”. Good design will support the cards throughout the reading operation over the entire length. The device remains in a natural position and swipe is performed in the – more natural, more ergonomic – longitudinal direction. The result: reliable error-free reads are so simple.
Less frustration, more efficient.
Quipos. How it’s done.