The user interface of a machine is of great interest to the user. Surprisingly enough, scarcely any attention it paid to it. JB Systems does things differently!
A good UI (user interface) ensures that users can perform their tasks quickly, easily and efficiently. This avoids mistakes and problems with the system during production are spotted earlier on. This can limit lost production.
A good UI also ensures intuitive operation, which considerably reduces the learning process of operators.
The user is key
“If you don’t know who you’re dealing with, how do you know what to say?”
JB Systems develops the UI from the perspective of the user; each user has their own goals and hence a number of tasks they have to perform. Developing a UI from the tasks is one of the most important causes of inefficient UIs.
One of the first steps in the process we go through involves mapping the personas and the goals they have with regard to the UI.
The next step in the process it to create scenarios for how the personas will use a UI. The starting point for this are the goals of the various personas.
We take the personas and scenarios and we proceed to implement an initial setup of the UI by making use of paper and Post-Its.
In most cases, 80% of the problems are identified by having five users operate the paper prototype. With this information to hand, the UI can be improved and ultimately implemented.
Principles of interactive design
When designing the UI, we consider the following rules of thumb:
- Visibility of the machine’s status
- Agreements between the system and the real world
- Give the user control over the system
- Follow conventions that users are familiar with
- Prevent users from being able to make mistakes
- Recognising is easier than remembering
- Flexible and efficient, for experienced and inexperienced users
- Limit information to what is relevant, less is more!
- Clear error messages that help to solve the problem
- Help and documentation only as a last resort
About 8% of men have a form of colour blindness, a fac that we have to take into account when designing a UI in order to avoid problems. In the illustration below, the circle at the top-left of the image is perceived by someone without any form of colour blindness. The other three circles represent deuteranope, prtoanope and general red-green colour blindness.
JB Systems would be pleased to help you set up a new HMI or User Interface or to improve your existing one.