Short Assignment #4

For this assignment, we were sent out to interact with (and lose our money to) any three vending machines we wanted. So, I set out to the Student Center one morning because I knew there was a plethora of vending machines available there. The first machine I decided to use was a Dasani machine. I found it grouped with several other machines in a little inlet near the information center. Upon observing the machine, I noticed the very limited selection of vitamin waters that it had. I was already disappointed. What’s the point of a vending machine if it poorly automates what it should do better than a vendor? Make me happy quickly! So I decided to be adventurous and try a new flavor. But alas, when I tried to feed the machine my 5 dollar bill, it was spewed back out. The machine didn’t accept 5 dollar bills! That was just ridiculous. Doesn’t the vending machine already spoil its own purpose by being picky as to what bills it accepts? Instead of encouraging any more interaction with the machine, I walked away angrily.

Storyboards 1 of vending machine interaction

After that poor interaction, I headed downstairs and found the Coffee Vending machine next to the Package Pickup line at the post office. I always thought it was an odd place to have a coffee vending machine, and I had never used it, so I decided to give it a shot. After observing my options on the grid of what looked like aged art designed icons on them, I decided I wanted an Espresso. I was confused as to how much it cost because the button had two prices on it, 50 cents and 65 cents. I went ahead and inserted 1 dollar to be safe. Upon inspecting the options, I noticed I could select the strength of the coffee, “whitener” which was odd to me that it wasn’t “cream”, and sugar. I thought it was strange that I was given 3 selections for Strength, as I think anyone attempting to get coffee quickly and desperately from a vending machine would just want to get as much caffeine in their body as quickly as possible, thus always mashing the strongest strength. The choices for sizes was the worst part to me. Instead of any form of measurement written down or even the most commonly used reference such as SMALL or LARGE, I was supplied with two plain, ambiguous cup icons of different sizes. I had no comparison… for all I knew, the smaller cup was the size of a shot glass! I picked the bigger one because I could, then heard the machine start to whirr.

Storyboard 2 of vending machine interaction

For a moment I was a bit scared because the machine didn’t let me know it was starting. It just started to make noises and coffee started dripping out of the bottom. ‘Oh no!,’ I thought, ‘it’s going to dispense my espresso into nothing!’. But right after this panicked thought occurred, I noticed a small cup come down the chute and fall into place. Relieved, I waited as the rest of my coffee was dispensed, and then was pleased to see my change come spewing out of the machine onto the floor. I had almost forgotten it owed me change. I was mildly surprised that the coffee wasn’t terrible.

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