Kiosks and large-format digital displays

Date adopted: 
February 21, 2023
Last update: 
March 16, 2023

This guidance is for teams designing large-format displays, like kiosks. We consider large-format displays to be anything 14 inches (61 cm) and larger when measured on the diagonal.

This guidance is in place to ensure all public-facing digital services are designed to meet user needs and follow best practices for usability. These services must still meet the government’s digital service standards.

Before you install your display in a public setting, you must ensure it meets:

  • the guidance on this page;
  • the digital service standards; and
  • WCAG 2.0 AA for accessibility.

Email [email protected] to set up a review of your kiosk or large-format display. 

Know your audience

People who use large-format displays like kiosks are typically:

  • busy and on the move out in public;
  • distracted by activity around them;
  • limited in the amount of time they have to interact; and
  • first-time users for a particular kiosk.

This means your kiosk user experience needs to be designed so it:

  • is quick to use and easy to understand;
  • is free from visual clutter; and
  • only gives people the information they need to complete their transaction and carry on.

Examples of tasks people perform through kiosks

  • Buying a ticket
  • Making a reservation
  • Booking an excursion
  • Printing (For example a boarding pass)
  • Getting directions or instructions
  • Getting information

Make sure people know they can interact with your kiosk

When you design the user interface for a kiosk, it’s important to know that people don’t always know they can interact with large touchscreens. There are some things you can do to attract the public to your kiosk.

The angle of the screen matters

The angle of the screen is a subtle cue to users that they can interact with it.

  • Position the screen at a 45 degree angle. The top of the display should lean toward a wall and the bottom, toward the user.
  • Consider a tabletop display. These signal good touch interactivity and can be flat, or slightly angled.
  • If you have a wall-mounted display, you should angle it at 45 degrees. These are good for attracting users and encouraging interaction.

Use signage as a cue

To compliment your kiosk, you can also use signage to let people know they can interact with it. Display a sign near the kiosk with a simple message to prompt people to touch the screen.

Use the interface to attract people

There are a few things you can do to attract people to your kiosk and to let them know they can touch the screen or interact with it in some way.

  • Have a video demo playing when the kiosk is not in use. When a person touches the screen, they see the start page.
  • Use animation or other touchable-looking items on the screen to indicate people can interact with it.
  • Use a simple screen saver with a message to “Touch screen to start.”

User interface design considerations for a good user experience

There are 16 heuristics specific to designing interfaces for large-format displays like interactive digital kiosks. These were proposed by Frode Eika Sandnes and based on a review of literature on this topic and an analysis of ticket vending kiosks of Taiwan’s high-speed rail system.

The Nielsen Norman Group have also developed best practices for designing large-format touch screens.

These pieces of work have informed the following guidance for teams designing and building kiosks for the public.

Make it easy for users to understand the interface

People using kiosks are often on the go. They are out in the public and represent a wide range of user demographics. These people may or may not be tech savvy, speak English or hear or see well. It is important they can do the thing they are there to do quickly and successfully.

  • The interface should help people understand what they can, or should do easily.
    • Reveal all steps required at the start. You can also give users an estimate on how much time a task or transaction might take.
    • Reduce the number of steps it takes it takes for a person to complete the task.
    • Present content in a sequence and not all at once. Ask one thing at a time as they progress.
  • Avoid clutter. Remove everything that is of little or no value to a person using the kiosk to accomplish a goal.
  • Present option to people so they can select the option that meets their need directly rather than cycling through all available options.
  • Avoid situations where a person might get an error message. You can build up their confidence in using the kiosk by:
    • applying advice we have added to the interface controls section on how to do this with buttons; or
    • you can also use animations to provide users with feedback after they have done something.

Interface controls

  • Interface controls should be large and easy to see.
  • Links and buttons
    • The most important links and buttons should be the largest targets to increase the likelihood users will be able to select them. Targets that are used less frequently should be smaller. This will reduce the likelihood of someone accidently selecting them.
    • Try to avoid situations where a person has to take an action and confirm it. Avoid using "confirm" and "next" buttons. These add extra steps. It is better to let people move forward, but provide them with a way to get back to the previous screen if needed.
    • Use a “Back a step” button in case the user makes an error. This gives them an opportunity to go back and make a change or correct an error.
    • Make sure buttons can be identified from an arms-length away.
  • If you have an on-screen keyboard, make it a moveable element so users can drag it to a place on the screen that works for them.
  • The interface elements should be adjusted so the drag, acceleration and deceleration make them feel lighter and easy to control.


Less is more when it comes to developing content for a kiosk display. To achieve this you should do the following.

  • Keep it succinct and to the point.
  • Replace supplemental text with graphics and icons whenever possible. This gives people more than 1 way to understand the information you are conveying regardless of the language they speak or their reading grade level.
  • Ensure text and images are legible and people can read them from an arm’s length away.
  • Make sure you account for French translation. Translated content adds more characters and will affect how it appears on the screen.


  • Always get the advice of experts with regard to language. Find out how to get your content translated into French.
  • Account for displaying a variety of languages. At a minimum, your kiosk should provide a bilingual experience for users who speak English or French. You might also want to add additional languages based on your user needs. To do this you should do the following.
  • Always try to make screen multilingual. This works well to display 2 to 3 languages. You can do this by:
    • using widely recognizable iconography; and
    • displaying text in multiple languages at the same time.
  • If there is a reason you cannot make the screens multilingual, you can provide a language selection option at the beginning of the interaction. This does add an extra step and is not our recommended approach.

Representing Yukon Indigenous cultures

If your kiosk content highlights or mentions Yukon Indigenous cultures, make sure you always get the advice of experts. For the Government of Yukon, this means you should email [email protected].

Determining kiosk placement

It is important to consider the placement of your kiosk to ensure people can use it as intended. Applying the following guidance will help with this.

  • It is best to display your kiosk in a location that has consistent lighting. If the kiosk is in direct sunlight – it will be hard for people to see the content on the screen.
    • As added assurance, you can use a sunlight readable monitor and ensure the user interface is high-contrast to ensure it will be visible.
  • Make sure large screens and kiosks are firmly in place so they cannot be manipulated by people.
  • We have provided advice on angling the kiosk screen at 45 degrees. This is a natural angle that indicates people can interact with the screen.
  • If the screen is at a 90 degree angle, be aware that this can have a negative affect on people’s accuracy. If you expect them to drag, pinch, unpinch or type on an onscreen keyboard, it is best to use the 45 degree angle.


It is important to be aware that kiosks and large displays are in public locations. Anyone passing by can see the screen. As with all public-facing digital services, make sure you are not asking people to give you more information than you need to deliver the service. And we recommend you check in with the government’s privacy office to find out if you need to complete a Privacy Impact Assessment before you display your kiosk to the public.


All public-facing digital services must meet or exceed WCAG 2.0 AA. In addition to these accessibility standards, there are some additional requirements to be aware of when designing your kiosk experience

Interacting with a large screen

People have to use their whole body when they interact with large screens. They:

  • have to move their head and neck to take in the content;
  • need a certain range of motion with their arm to interact with the screen;
  • often take a step back to take in an entire screen and then step forward to interact.

Making content visible

We’ve added guidance above to remind designers to remove clutter. In addition, you can also ensure:

  • the user interface is high contrast;
  • you use larger font sizes, so words are easier to read; and
  • you use sunlight readable monitors if the kiosk will be in a bright area.

Questions to ask as you design your kiosk interface

Here are a few questions you can ask your team as you plan out your design for the user interface.

  • What is the average range of motion for the arm of a typical user?
  • Will users have to undertake any other motions to interact with the kiosk?
  • How much pressure will users need to tap? Should they use a finger, or the palm of their hand?
  • What height ranges do you expect? Does your display accommodate people in the range?
  • Can someone in a wheelchair access the kiosk?
  • If someone has poor vision, are there audio controls they can use? Or another way to get the information?