Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Embedded System User-Interface Tips

I have often written about the need for requirements definition at the beginning of any embedded system design. However, I believe user-interface (UI) requirements are in a class by themselves, and thus deserve special attention.

During the conceptualization of the user experience I recommend focusing more on identifying user roles, workflow and informational content than on detailed screen design. Far too often I see a lot of effort devoted to specific graphics, color, font and button alignment before basic questions are even asked. I suggest starting with a representative selection of the embedded system's user community and the development team to address the following types of questions:

-Who are the target user(s)?
-What are their roles?
-What specific information is critical and actionable to each role?
-What information is simply helpful?
-What data is nice to have but does not need to be normally displayed?

Once the above questions are answered then the development team should rapidly create multiple versions of simple user interface experiences for the user community to evaluate. (Sometimes it may take the physical form of a software simulation when it is impractical to develop on the target hardware.)

User feedback gained from interacting with examples of possible user interface screens can provide invaluable feedback that will focus the development team on a specific implementation path. Once the path is set, then it is time to choose the right icons, fonts and colors.

Please share your tips for really good UI design.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Gary,

    Nice post,thanks for sharing this information.

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