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The RedLaser scan screen primer

Published on | By Miles Skorpen and Ran Chen

The first interaction between your customers and your barcode scanner will be in the scan screen. Getting this first interaction right is critical in turning occasional users into frequent users. But getting the scan screen right isn’t settled science, as you can see from some different directions we’ve taken in the core RedLaser application, and in our scanning software development kit.

Even customers aren’t sure what the best scan screen would be.

While we were in the planning stages of a recent RedLaser release, we conducted user research on this topic, among others. In particular, we compared two different scan screens — one primarily with arrows, like the “RL Classic” design above, and the second with solely a red scan line, like RedLaser today. The research subjects overwhelmingly preferred the scan line, as they believed it required far less precision and fostered perception of an easy and streamlined scanning process.

With the launch of RedLaser, we switched our scan overlay, but user feedback and more research surfaced an unexpected result of the change: Users with the new app perceived scanning as slower, even though our testing only showed speed improvements. Our hypothesis is that, because the red scan line is easier to align, our users spend less time aligning the screen and more time waiting for a scan to complete, creating a perception of slower scanning.

To help you figure out the best scan screen for your customers, we’re going to walk you through a few of the important areas we’ve discovered.