When designing the software for our newest accessory, the multi channel operator interface, John, the Manager of our Engineering Department took a few best practices into consideration:
Keep It Simple
If too much data is on one screen, its difficult to find the important data. By using simple bar graphs, limited colors & subdued backgrounds there is less clutter on the screen for an operator to read through and every element on the page has a purpose. Specific colors signify the status of an alarm and % LFL values are represented without the decimal place.
Build an Information Hierarchy
You can increase situation awareness by making critical information stand out and less important data recede to the background. This is done both graphically & empirically. Specific colors and font sizes are used to reflect importance and specific system data is presented in various levels. There are overview screens (Home Pages) to give views of the complete system and then detail screens for launching certain commands and menus. In addition, there are master commands pages for the entire system and individual commands pages for each analyzer.
Provide Feedback to the Operator
The purpose of this accessory is to create an open line of digital communication between the operator & the system, so throughout the pages there are status messages.
Require Security Checks
A password is required to calibrate or change critical parameters.
Read On for more information on the Best Practices for Designing an Operator Interface.