Electronics Engineering Magazine

Showing posts with label Usability-Ergonomics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Usability-Ergonomics. Show all posts

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Usability of Front Panel Controls

I once worked in Tek for a very short period. I got to experience the 2235 and 2465 analog scopes and their controls. The 2465 was a 400 MHz Digitally Controlled Analog Scope.

I also used the Plugin Scopes and Calibration systems that were Tek Culture and Tech contribution to the Instrumentation world, it probably evolved into VXI-PXI as uC systems took over.

I also had a chance to look at DSO/Logic Analyzers and the just developed TDS Series.The older tek analog scopes made me understand about usability and panel layouts. Many controls are inevitable in a Analog Scope with Electromechanical Interface.

Usability or Ergonomics Review

In a Digital World that can be largely changed using the Monitor and Trackballs. The older BlackBerry phones are also good study for usability before Touch Screens came.

delabs Experiments

delabs Web Widget and Application Interface Usability Experiments 2003-2008

In 2003 i tried some experiments in Web Interface. I also converted some mini DHTML Widgets i made in 2000. These i later added to iGoogle too. In 2000 it was a Midi Player later an Alarm Clock when iGoogle came. Then a Metronome and Mini-Notes Holder and a Text-Database driven Music Player.

delabs Web Widget and Application Interface Usability Experiments 2003-2008

Talking of Touch Screen, i had seen a  Monitor in a Universal Pick-Place Assembly Machine. A Huge Pneumatic System, Not a SMT, there was no SMT then. This monitor had IR LED and Opto Transistor Array over the monitor. That sensed the finger Probably.

Capacitive Touch Screens and Accelerometers have given a new dimension to Ergonomics.

Then came Euro controls for Consumer Electronics. Like remote controls. Look at the National Panasonic VCR Remote on the right. It could be in the 90's. It is so easy to operate the VCR, you do not need a manual. Flap a Lid and you have many things to do, including control any brand of TV in tandem with the VCR.

Software or hardware it is the same thing. The way the Common man sees a Gadget, like a Lamp Switch or a Water Tap.

The HTML5 thing also is in the same direction, which empowers Web Designers to make Usable Apps and Sites not just Flashy Mazes where one can get lost for eternity. Some of the sites i built are like that, Labyrinth of Docs which only the Search can Reveal.

2003 - 2008 delabs Notes

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Date Time Clock Widgets

I wanted to realize usability of controls within a small footprint. This lead to some innovations.
These are JavaScript and CSS Clock Widgets originally made for my webpage later improved and decorated for iGoogle. Now available as web widgets.

Date Time Clock Widgets

Date Time Clock Widgets

When i found the Remote controls and the early mobile phones difficult to use. I felt i have to try to design user interface within a small footprint. This helped me innovate a Active or Dynamic GUI concept; as shown in the Ability to change the skins of the Audio Music player and Digital Alarm Clock. The metronome too see the other project in this profile. These were done around 2005-6-7. Both for elements on my site and gadgets.

Digital and Analog Clocks
I also made a Virtual Web Gadget Alarm Clock Simulation that will demonstrate a Dynamic GUI in a Limited Facia Area.

Conclusions -

Reduce the number of operations a user would do at achieve a purpose. Auto, Intuitive, Context Gui. When a Customer comes to buy Trousers, Take him to the Trouser Corner. Do not show Tuxedo option. The colors have good contrast and the text clearly visible.

A Highlighted reaction to user action. Tactile. Dynamic GUI, see in Gadgets above. GUI Elements appear only for that sequence of actions. No clutter. Menus if used, should not get stuck. Should not be fidgety, should not be menus at all if possible.

Engineering, Interaction Design, UI/UX

Thursday, December 03, 2015

The Future Landline Phones

Early Innovations on Landline Phones were Answering Machine, Music-on-Hold and Fax Machines. Later landmines were used for BBS and then DUN (Dial up Networking) Internet. Then came the Big Freeze.

My first data experience before the internet was Delrina WinFax. It helped one of my friends get a job in Europe too. A fax machine was expensive, a Gateway 2000 modem was not. (this modem took me first online at home)

The Future Landline Phones

Cable Internet, Broadband Internet and 3G etc. have pushed the Landline phone in a corner.

I am using Internet on my Landline and it is pretty good. This may not be affordable by all, as a PC or Laptop is needed and the extra Broadband charges. This is just using the same line. My LandLine phone still is UnEvolved.

What i am trying to say is .....Add SMS at least for all Landlines with no extra monthly cost other than the SMS cost. If Possible add a means of slow File Transfer like FAX. A USB port on this device below will do.

This will help many use Data on the Telephone lines without buying a PC or Fax machine. The SMS will be a Super Hit. Voice Mail can alo be done. No Internet required. Let a affordable Android phone replace the Landline.

The most financially stressed families in the most remote locations can SMS and if possible send their JPG photo or resume over the Normal Phone Connection at only the extra cost of data transfer.

I got my a Landline a few days back, The phone was one with a LCD, It is a very nice phone with a large LCD, but i had trouble using the phone book, as i kept forgetting the sequence.

These Landline phones occupy a prominent position on the desktops of all offices. The CEO, Marketing Manager and Purchasing Officer; or even at the Canteen, we see these phones. The potential for marketing and advertising is good in these, as they are still popular in the office environment. A firm can show its flash presentation or a product catalog, when a customer waits for the despatch details of a product he ordered.

A Landline Phone also may be interesting with a touch screen and built in web browser. This phone can also have the option of WiMax, in areas where it is available.

This was posted around 2007-8 in a Blog Nomadic Computing and later in delabs Design Devices.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Gadgets as Visual Interface for Process Control

Here is is gadget GUI for Industrial Process control, WebApps. The buttons make a sound and Light up internal LED lamps. Power On-Off control, Digital Timer; Start, Reset Scroll and Select are the controls.

An Image ScreenShot is here.

Digital Timer Gadget Visual Interface

Project Page programmable-digital-timer

I will first make some simple examples with this UI. Then i will try to interface the javascript with PHP-MYSQL Application. I am just Thinking Loud. This makes a Globally Distributed Process Control Possible. :~) . You can Use html-js-php-msql. You can use ajax-python-perl too.

Digital Timer Gadget Visual Interface - Live Gadget Demo

But for now, back to earth, I will just complete some more simple tutorial gadgets. This Idea of mine is Open Source, please keep it that way.

The advantage is that the industrial process or Home automation can be monitored and controlled on any computer including tablets which has a Browser. The plant automation or Home appliance can be regulated even as you travel back from factory to home. Or in any city from the Cyber Cafe. A Wireless Lan and Computer with Browser is all you need.

Press The Power on-off for a soft start, this is to prevent the inrush current from stressing the javascript components. Then it goes to a display test. The Start button can run or stop timer by toggling. The reset will Bring timer to 0000, format is min-sec.

Set by pressing select to get a marker over orange digit, Use Scroll to set number. Press Start to start timer, Start to be off to set again. The buzzer will turn on when Time elapsed matches time set. and the alarm relay trips. And a Flashing Annunciator signals end of process. Now Reset will start process again and stop flashing LED.

To use this like a regular instrument, you need a small portable hand-held computer with browser. Fix that in a Cabinet by filing or grinding it to size and wire the relays and supply. :-)