For the 2012 DocType Society Holiday Hackathon, I teamed up with Bruce Schmoetzer, Shenoa Lawrence, and Jon Hjelle to build a prototype iPad application for self-checkout. It was a great challenge to go from the whiteboard to a working app in just 24 hours, but we did well.
The app itself is a very basic database, hardcoded with its values and implemented in Cocoa's Core Data, with four screens walking the user through a simple self-checkout process.
Check Out Checkout!
The prototype had a working database and barcode scanning feature. A lot of other features, such as help buttons and receipt handling, are completely fake; however, they give the complete impression of how a final implementation might look. Here are some screenshots of the final design to walkthrough its functionality.
First, the user has to identify themselves by presenting their Passbook ID. In our case, Bruce issued test ones manually, which I was able to get working on my Galaxy S3 by using PassWallet.
The user was then taken to a basic PIN screen, for two-factor authentication. When we make prototypes, we don't mess around with security (my PIN is 1234; like something an idiot puts on his luggage).
The user then scans an item's UPC code on the next screen, building a list of items to check out. This is based on a set list within the database, using books we had on hand at Room to Think.
Finally, the user chooses to finalize checkout and they are offered the option of a receipt and its method of delivery. The device goes into 15 second countdown to reset itself.
This very basic prototype could be expanded to provide a useful application. It could include on-board features for adding users and inventory items, creating a complete mini-library-on-one-device. This could be used at Room to Think to track their shelves full of books and who has them out. It could be integrating with a real library's information system, providing a very inexpensive package for adding Passbook IDs to any small town.
In the end, I was able to learn about integrating barcode scanning into an iPad application, something very useful for some of the apps at work. Plus, how to bring in graphic design elements and make them interactive. Finally, actually getting to work together with the co-workers at Room to Think for a change was delightful.