1. UX (Designer) vs. UI (Developer) roles are misunderstood
Unfortunately, in many legacy system situations the designer is required to possess substantial application domain knowledge and think like the Operator, which comes with obvious risks when you consider practical experience. Misunderstood principles, again due to lack of experience and context, are very common around UX and UI Development. UX designers working in software or web design may not be aware of the expectations and technical requirements to develop for manufacturing or industrial applications.
Understandably, the term "UX" is relatively new and the concept of user-friendly design has been around for ages.
The user experience design in industrial applications involves enhancing the Operator's perception by improving the usability, accessibility, and situational awareness of real-time operations. Proper UX design requires understanding of the users' needs and creating a solution that effectively solves their problems and helps complete their tasks in the easiest and fastest way possible by factoring in the look and feel, the presentation and interactivity within the software.
Something that looks great but is difficult to use may be exemplary of great UI but poor UX. A great HMI/SCADA experience starts with UX followed by UI Development. Both are essential for success.
System Platform 2017 supports tasked based workflows that improve the overall UI UX process.
- UX Designer - the person that specifies in the overall design, information navigation model and interaction with UI
- HMI Developer - the person who 'assembles' and implements the final user interfaces with optimal layout with the available controls, graphics etc.
- Software/Automation Developer – person who builds the HMI framework and programs functional behaviors of controls. This makes it possible for teams to work in parallel on the different parts of the UI UX development stages, leading to more effective collaboration and ultimately more effective UI/UX design implementations.
2. Time to Mastery
Various technical and design elements must be coordinated simultaneously such as: corporate standards, navigation, graphic design, performance, all with multiple levels of detail, complexity and re-use.
These processes require years of experimental trials of figuring out how to achieve best-in-class results.
The process of developing these enterprise standards can be very advanced, but once they are built, they can be used as any other basic component. The responsibility for creating and developing these standards or custom components could therefore be assigned to one person; everyone else would just be required to use the produced components. This greatly streamlines the usage of standards across the organisation. The value not only in the amount of time saves, but more importantly the domain expertise successfully being transferred.
System Platform 2017 represents the culmination of years of research and development, customer collaboration, design validation with partners, and extensive testing in real-world, small and large scale environments.
System Platform 2017 addresses both top down and bottoms up project needs while ensuring the best of breed approach. A pre-built automation device library with pre-linked situational awareness symbol library, including faceplates works across any PLC, RTU and DCS enabling you to quickly assemble applications with proven strategies, rich functionality, and known performance.
3. Iterative design is difficult
The fundamental key to a good user experience is to involve actual end users feedback and input throughout a UX design process. Interactive design entails prototyping and repeated re-designing and testing of applications with the actual end-users being considered. This requires the need to easily change the design or layout of the interface when new content or design tweaks are required during the later stages of a project to reduce cost to change ratio.
System Platform 2017 understands and supports this interative workflow in a number of ways.
First, unlike monolithic legacy HMIs, the new visualisation framework segregates the visual content from the underlying UI design.
This not only has the benefit of enabling rapid iterative changes but also less complex edits can be made by non-technical users.
On top of that the new framework provides the ability where applications will automatically generate themselves in runtime by leveraging content keying and model-based navigation. This is a greatly improved interactive workflow and facilitates continuous UI/UX improvements.
Secondly, customers can further implement an agile interactive methodology by leveraging optional subscription cloud-based engineering environment. Online InStudio offers concurrent, on-demand infrastructure and enables collaborative designer and end-user functionality across the entire project lifecycle.