I needed to revisit this one from this date last year, because there’s now a further few things that are very stupid indeed. Read the next to last paragraph


It might be that this would be better called ‘How not to design an ATM.’ See what you think.

My nearest ATM is conveniently built into the wall of my local CoOp store, and this allows for easy access to cash before going bargain hunting in the Reduced To Clear items. It does however have a few aspects that could be improved.

It’s arthritically slow. Punch in your PIN, ask for cash, specify how much you want, and by the time it doshes you the spondulicks you may need to shave again. If the person ahead of you in the queue wants to check his/her balance, pay off some money on their gas bill, top up a mobile, and get some money, you might as well cut your losses and go for lunch somewhere. Just occasionally the CoOp ATM will sulk and refuse to talk to my bank account, necessitating an invigorating hike to my bank. This defeats the object of ATMs being universal, I feel.

Whoever designed and installed this machine clearly doesn’t join the dots. The machine is in a south facing wall, so the merest glimmer of sunshine renders the screen pretty well unreadable. If you look closely, there is a High Contrast screen option, but guess what? You access this by following options that appear on the basic low contrast screen. If you can read the instructions, you don’t need the high contrast, do you?

Similarly, there is an option for people who are visually impaired to receive voice prompts. This is admirable. Well, it is until you realise that you need to follow instructions on the opening low contrast screen to access the voice prompts that you may need because you can’t see the screen properly.

A couple of new pieces of tomfoolery has recently emerged. The machine asks what you’d like; on-screen balance, or cash with receipt. Choose what you require, and the machine will then ask if you want the display in English, German, or French. Oh, and if it’s run out of paper it will tell you that receipts aren’t available and ask if you want to continue. Don’t tell me the program is not aware of a shortage in the woodpulp products area. It still offers you a receipt up until the time you ask for one.

Don’t let the designers organise your stag weekend in Budapest or you’ll end up in midweek Bucharest. Hopeless.