The retail world is really adopting the use of touchscreen kiosks. As the technology becomes cheaper and users become more comfortable with opting for help from an interactive device rather than an employee, we’ve seen a remarkable increase in tablet and larger kiosks in all types of public spaces. From department stores and restaurants to government buildings and hospitals, the ways that kiosks are being used is vast and varied, but they all have one simple thing in common: Improve the retail experience by giving users more than they expect faster than they expect it.

Here are 15 super-cool ways we’ve seen our customers use their kiosks:

1) Queue Management – Got a line in your store? Steer users toward the kiosk to enter their name and reason for visit and manage a back-end system that lets employees see who’s here, what they need, and when they arrived– and track that info with simple database reports.

2) Quizzes & Tests – We know how popular quizzes are across social media (a la “Which Disney Princess Are You?”), and the format translates well to the kiosks for a fun and enlightening experience.

3) Contest Entries – Want that big prize? Have users enter names and email addresses to be registered to win, and you’ll make out like a bandit with their information.

4) Educational Games – What if Angry Birds was a game about launching white blood cells into disease-causing pathogens to teach kids (of all ages) about how antibodies work inside our bodies? Make learning fun and you’ve got an interactive high-score holder.

5) On-Demand Printing – Tired of printing and re-printing brochures and marketing collateral every time there’s a tiny change? Skip that hassle and allow users to print on-demand from up-to-date documents on a wifi-enabled printer and you’re saving time and money.

6) Online Applications – Whether it’s for college acceptance or a home loan, letting users fill out applications via kiosk can save them time and help them more easily understand the process.

7) Interactive Timeline – When a museum wants to show the history of World War II, an interactive multimedia experience that combines images and video with data will create far more memorable lessons.

8) Maps & Wayfinding – Hotels, hospitals, convention centers, college campuses… they’re all so huge! A quick way to help people get from A to Z is a digital map that allows users to see where they are and print or email themselves directions to their destination.

9) Store Locator – If you have lots of retail locations, your customers will often be interested to know where the closest one is. Share that real-time info with them and use the kiosk to check inventory or availability so they know the store will have what they want.

10) Employee Directory – I’m here for a meeting with John Smith— but at a corporate HQ with hundreds of employees. Simplify my life! Users will love the ability to swipe, sort, or search to find their contact and even ping the employee’s phone to announce their arrival.

11) Promotional Videos – Many kiosks are focused toward reducing the perceived wait time in high-traffic areas, and it’s nice to offer a few brand-centric advertisement videos to educate and entertain customers as they wait. Works great for product demos, too!

12) Appointment Scheduling – Many kiosk users will be in a hurry, so it’s beneficial to offer them a way to schedule an appointment with a specific person who can help them at a later date.

13) Retail Purchases – Whether you’re in line at a busy quick-serve restaurant or inside a big box retailer where you can’t find an employee and checkout lines are long, offering users the ability to buy a product online with a kiosk can really simplify their retail experience.

14) Financial Calculators – The more tools you can provide to help your users, the better. While most people will have a basic calculator on their phone, chances are they don’t have access to a handy rate calculator for a mortgage or car loan.

15) Event Registration – When your guests arrive, speed up their check-in process with self-service kiosks. You’ll get them through quicker, collect their data instantly, and leave them with options like printing a badge or map of the event space.

Kiosks can have an endless array of purposes, ranging from calculating the calories in your lunch to learning the details of a medical procedure, but the common thread among them all is that they offer a unique , internet-powered experience designed to educate, inform, and entertain users.

~Brandon Bass, Codigo Vice President of Media