Why We Struggle to Enter ID Travel Info (and the Solution)

| Transportation & Logistics

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Have you ever been in a rush to buy an airline ticket and got frustrated filling in your passport number for the fourth time?

If so, you’re not alone. Your customers are facing the same issue.

travelers want immigration off airport

Typing complex codes and numbers, such as those on passports, driving licenses, and other ID documents, is tedious and frustrating.

Here, we’ll show some key reasons our brains struggle to fill in data. And we’ll also reveal a simple solution.

Want to see the solution?

Fast, secure and easy-to-use web-based ID scanning.

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Cognitive load and a limited memory capacity

Harvard University’s George Miller first developed cognitive load theory in the 1950s. In it, he says that working memory is limited when filling in complex text such as passport numbers or registration plates.

Several factors contribute to this:

Limitations to working memory capacity

Working memory is responsible for holding and processing information at that moment.

Research on cognitive load highlights that working memory can typically handle 5-9 pieces of information simultaneously.

Complex data like passport numbers and registration plates often contain a mix of letters and numbers. It can be challenging to remember and process this type of text simultaneously.

Remembering and reproducing items in the correct order

Remembering and typing characters in the correct order is another challenge. Studies on serial recall indicate show that errors increase with longer and more complex sequences.

Interference from Similar Items

Interference from similar-looking digits can occur when entering data like registration plates or passport numbers. For example, users may confuse similar-looking characters like ‘O’ and ‘0’ or ‘1’ and ‘I’.

Research on interference demonstrates that similarity between items can increase cognitive load and error rates.

Typing Accuracy

Typing accuracy can also be compromised by entering complex sequences on different devices. This includes:

  • Keyboard Layouts: Different layouts (QWERTY, AZERTY, etc.) can confuse users, especially if they switch between devices.
  • Small Devices: Typing on mobile devices or tablets with small or virtual keyboards increases the likelihood of errors.
  • Muscle Memory: Users are often accustomed to typing familiar words and patterns, and complex passwords disrupt these patterns.

Recommended – avoid making passengers do data entry

The data that is required for visa and other border security measures is largely contained within the travel documents.

Scanning can easily capture them by scanning the MRZ (machine-readable zone) of the travel documents. In fact, recent advice from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency recommends exactly this.

ID Bolt and other potential solutions

Scandit has just launched ID Bolt. It can turn any web browser into a secure, easy-to-use ID scanner with minimal development effort that works on any website.

  • It comes with a tried and tested UX developed by analyzing millions of ID scans by Scandit users.
  • On-device processing to improve speed and data security.
  • Device handover for desktop users to temporarily scan from their mobile device to improve ergonomics
  • All communications are end-to-end encrypted. No Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is stored on the device.

Making it easier for passengers and customers while staying secure

Entering ID data is essential for travel, car rental, or even signing up as a q-commerce driver. It’s time to make it easier.

Understanding the cognitive and usability challenges of typing complex text is crucial for designing more user-friendly authentication systems.

Addressing these issues with products like ID Bolt can make life easier for passengers and customers.

Are you interested in ID Bolt? Contact us, and one of our team members will give you a detailed walk-through.