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kiosk

Contributor(s): Randy Kual

In information technology, a kiosk (pronounced KEE-ahsk ) is a small physical structure (often including a computer and a display screen) that displays information for people walking by. Kiosks are common near the entrances of shopping malls in North America where they provide shoppers with directions. Kiosks are also used at trade shows and professional conferences. The word is of Turkish and earlier Persian origin, where it meant an outdoor pavilion or a portico. The kiosks best known to travellers are those that display show and movie posters on the streets of Paris.

More sophisticated kiosks let users interact and include touch screens, sound, and motion video. A number of companies specialize in creating multimedia kiosks. A simple kiosk can be created using HTML pages and graphics, setting the typesize large enough to attract people from a short distance, and removing the Web browser's tool bar so that the display screen is effectively in "kiosk mode." The presentation can be designed to simply loop through a series of pages or to allow user interaction and exploration. Having a separate printed sign that invites people to your home-made kiosk may help.

This was last updated in April 2005

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