Our clients come up with some amazing and creative designs for custom keypads. Control design involves not only a balance of aesthetics, durability and cost, but also safety features. Here, we’ll focus on how you can design controls that will make your equipment safer to use.
What are the worst visibility conditions your equipment will experience? That is what you should design custom keypads for. If the equipment might be used in a dim room, or in a construction area thick with dust then workers may have trouble making out the right controls and this can lead to dangerous mistakes.
We advise keeping custom keypads simple; particularly the section that contains the most commonly used controls. Group controls by function and use contrasting colors to help separate buttons into obvious groups. Stay away from lettering if possible, using clear and simple symbols instead. If you need to use words, stick with large, clear fonts that are easy to read in low light. Clearly design control schemes allow workers to respond more quickly in an emergency.
Keep Controls In Reach
Well designed custom keypads provide workers with good ergonomics and rapid emergency response.
Controls should be laid out so they can be reached without straining by workers of a range of heights. Users shouldn’t have to strain to reach them and wrists in particular should be kept straight. When workers have to stretch or twist into an unnatural position to reach a button, they increase the chance of injury. Even if a strain doesn’t seem like much, that same motion repeated thousands of times can lead to disabling conditions.
Accessible controls allow employees to react faster in a crisis. They don’t have to hunt for a control or wrench themselves around to reach it. A split second can mean the difference between safe resolution and disaster.
Consider Operating Conditions
Si Tech can quickly put out prototypes of your custom keypads so you can test them in a production environment. It is essential you use these prototypes under conditions as much like the real thing as possible. There are a huge number of variables that are impossible to anticipate in a laboratory-type environment.
Controls that are fine when standing might be unacceptable if a worker is sitting or vice versa. We’ve seen cases of controls that seemed fine, but the client forgot the workers wear heavy gloves so found themselves accidentally mashing the wrong buttons. Button force might need to be adjusted to make a specific control more or less easily activated.
We have found successful custom keypads often require several versions to get right. Our staff is willing to help you create the perfect control scheme for your device, suited to whatever working conditions you might find necessary. Contact Si Tech today for help in creating safe and effective custom keypads.