Friday, June 19, 2015

New mobile UX trend driven by machine vision

It’s no secret that for mobile apps, the user experience is as important as the functionality behind it. There had been so many examples showing that poor solutions packed into more intuitive user interfaces often win the race against technologically more advanced ones that are too complicated for end-users.

The manual input problem

Making it easy and fast for users has always been the main idea. Today, one of the biggest UX obstacles for a large number of apps is the need for manual data input. This is especially true for apps that require registration, identification or input of a lot of fields like bill payment info, credit card numbers, ID numbers and similar.

The only thing more annoying than having to enter these long values manually is the situation when you have to reenter it repeatedly and with small, prone to error smartphone keyboards it is often the case.

At microblink, we have recognized this problem and have developed an elegant and universal solution. The idea is simple: why not use a phone camera to scan what you would otherwise have to type-in?

Imagine a hotel check-in or airport boarding in under 60 seconds. Imagine putting in a 20- character strings like account numbers for payment info in a blink of an eye. Imagine filling in a registration form in just a few seconds.

The mobile banking example

Let’s take a look at the example that clearly illustrates the advantage of using OCR to save time and ensure customer satisfaction - the payment slips scanning.

In Europe, Middle East, North Africa and many other countries around the world, an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) is used to identify bank accounts. When paying bills in these countries, you either go to a bank, use Internet banking or use mobile banking on your smartphone.

Going to the bank is usually not a preferred option and Internet banking requires you to have your laptop or PC with you. Mobile banking should be the best way to do it, but entering a 17-digit number via a small smartphone keyboard is simply too painful, even when you have a reasonably small number of bills.

In this situation, an accurate and lightning fast solution for data input is a necessity. Good news is: it is possible. By using mobile vision it is possible to extract the data in real time, meaning that user just points a phone camera towards the IBAN number and it instantly appears in the form field.

The same technology can be applied to extract any alphanumerical piece of information from the physical world into a memory of a smartphone or a computer.

Eliminating manual data input in your existing app

The main prerequirement for production level mobile vision is for it to work seamlessly. The point is to make the whole process more enjoyable for the user, so mistakes are not allowed. The scanned value must be recognized correctly even when scanned at a funny angle or during a bumpy bus ride. User should just point the phone camera to the value and it should be instantly recognized. No taking pictures, no sending the data to a server farm. It also needs to work with common smartphones, not just the premium ones.

This brings us to the elephant in the room: it is very difficult and time consuming to implement such a complex technology, especially considering that mobile vision probably isn’t your core business.

microblink mobile vision solution for data input

microblink’s mobile machine vision portfolio contains solutions for any sort of user input problem you might have. These are all shipped as self contained SDK’s which means that they integrate into your existing mobile app without much effort.

We specialized in making the best mobile vision SDK’s in the world. Text recognition is fast, accurate and reliable, tested in use cases like mobile banking, personal identification, invoice payment, barcode scanning and many others.

PhotoPay SDK, one of our best selling products, eliminates the need for manual input from payment slips. It scanes not only the IBAN, but the whole payment slip, thus extracting all necessary information and providing a single click bill payment experience. It is used in mobile banking applications around the world.

In cases where only the IBAN is necessary, we provide a standalone IBAN scanner, an even simpler solution used for extracting IBAN’s from any physical source. This is especially useful when scanning payment slips that don't follow any standardized form.

Let's talk about your use case

Given the potential of mobile vision technology, we are continuously discovering new and exciting use cases. If you have ideas on how to use mobile vision to help your users, we would like to talk. Contact us at microblink.com.

Check out how Easy Taxi optimized their data capturing process using mobile vision.

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