BTL Mark: Resolve interoperability issues & increase buyer confidence
The BAS Industry & Graphics
End users generally judge the BAS vendors' product through the capabilities of the graphics engine.
Nirosha Munasinghe MBusIT BSc BE (Hons) (Melb)
Product Development Manager,
engineering environment, graphical programming and innovative hardware
are a common set of products in the BAS industry. The common
functionality of these products is for an engineer to complete the
project to specification. The hardware is in a plant room or under the
roof line never to be seen by the end user. The programming environment
may be used a few times through the life cycle of the building to re-tune
or re-commission the building. Then, what tool is most used
throughout the lifecycle of the building? Graphics. It is clearly
evident that the graphical display panels generated to illustrate the
operation and behavior of the mechanical components of a building is most
the exposed to the end user. Graphic display panels have evolved over
the last two years as energy reporting becomes mandatory to achieve
ratings. The graphics are the central point of access for the end
user to expose the invisible and make it visible. In busy facilities such as hotels
and universities, graphics are used to navigate the building almost 365
days, 24/7. Therefore, end users generally judge the BAS vendors'
product through the capabilities of the graphics engine. This
article examines the human perceptions and useability factors that
should be applied when designing an interactive display panel.
BAS graphical display panel can be classified as a human computer interaction (HCI). Every day we interact with graphical user interfaces, from the PC, mobile phone to entertainment systems. The key component of these products is the graphical user interface. A product can have a solid backend but if it contains an average user interface, the product will be rated poorly. The ultimate goal in designing an interactive graphical system is for end user to use it effectively to achieve efficiency, without stress. The two key principles when designing a user interface is to know your end user and usability.
Qualifying the end user not only involves investigating the capabilities and skill sets but also general human behavior and perception concepts. When using a graphical user interface, the eye, brain and memory play a key role in driving the system. The human eye and brain is pivotal to interpreting color characteristics of a graphic. The cerebral cortex, the outermost to the cerebrum to the brain plays a key role in memory, attention and perceptual awareness. About 60% of the cerebral cortex of the brain is involved with vision. Some common characteristics of color vision in graphics follows:
Human memory also plays a key role when using a graphical user interface. Memory can be classified into long and short term. Long term memory is lifelong with infinite capacity. Short term memory lasts for a finite duration. For example, remembering a few steps of an unfamiliar process. Memory can be also be classified into the following categories:
Human computer interaction depends on sensory and procedural long term
memory. When driving an unfamiliar user interface, the
general process of the brain is to use the long term memory to
ask, have I used a similar user interface before? by observing it using
sight as a sensor memory; and then using procedural memory to drive the user
interface similar to past used actions. For example if there is a button
on the screen, most would know that a click will navigate to the
indicated content. In a BAS context, if a system tree structure is
observed, most would know from past procedural memory that it displays
the BAS network with respective controllers.
What are some human computer interaction concepts that can be used by user interface designers to synergize with general human perceptions?
The second key principle under consideration when designing a user interface is the usability of the system. Usability factors in an interactive system follow:
The usability factors need to be analyzed after the development of a graphical user interface. Some common techniques used to analyze usability follow:
becomes almost impossible to perform usability analysis in the BAS
industry due to strict time pressures and due to graphical displays
being one of the last components to be completed in a project. However,
solid graphical user interface generally leads to satisfied customers,
which will benefit the BAS industry's value chain. Therefore, if an
investment is made to properly design a graphical panel display for one
customer with human perception and usability concepts applied during
the design phase, the solution can be duplicated on other similar
projects. It is becoming very important for BAS vendors to
make sure their system integrators are designing attractive and user
friendly graphical panels as they becomes the show case of the vendor’s
entire product line.
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