Engineers tend to focus on what equipment does more than how to operate it. The controls are added at the end, often with little consideration about usability. When our clients prioritize the design of custom keypads and other interface elements, they create devices that perform better than their competitors.
Ease of Use
When Si Tech clients give attention to the design of our custom keypads, many details about usability can be addressed. The interface should be easy to understand and operate so users can start using the device quickly. Ideally controls should be intuitive so users can operate equipment with little or no training, but even complicated interfaces should be laid out carefully.
Equipment with well designed custom keypads operates more efficiently. Users give their commands quickly with no hunting for the right button. They make fewer mistakes so don’t waste time changing settings or redoing work performed wrong. When controls are efficient, tasks are complete efficiently. A well designed machine can do the work faster and increase a user’s productivity.
Equipment That Is A Pleasure To Use
Engineers can measure usability of custom keypads. They can time how long it takes users to enter commands or log how many mistakes are made. Designers should also consider the concept of user enjoyment, although that is a parameter that is hard to measure.
Have you ever had equipment that just felt right? Sometimes a device is so well designed that it is just fun to use. This goes beyond usability or efficiency. It’s an ambiguous design parameter that causes users to enjoy using the equipment or to trust it implicitly. The same equipment fitted with custom keypads that use different colors, shapes or other esthetic details can change the way users interact with the device.
Start With The Interface
We’ve found the best way to design a great control system is to do it before designing the machine. Most engineers start with what a device is supposed to do. They lay out equipment to do that and then add controls almost as an afterthought. The function of the device is considered more important that the actions of the user.
Instead, try approaching the design from the user’s point of view. Imagine the user operating a machine and consider what actions must be taken and what custom keypads or other controls should look like. Create a comprehensive and efficient control system. Once that’s done, create the machine that will link the control system to the desired function of the machine.
This backward approach results in intuitive devices that operators will enjoy using. Since the control system is an integral part of the design, designed even before the internal workings of the machine, it will be a well-designed component in the final product.