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Mai 30, 2017

How System Platform 2017 helps address the Top 3 Reasons for poor designs in Industrial Applications

Omer Qadri
Omer Qadri
omer.qadri@schneider-electric.com

Omer is responsible for product marketing for Wonderware Supervisory and HMI software. He has over 15+ years experience evangelizing the power of software in Industrial Automation, Enterprise software and SaaS applications.


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1. UX (Designer) vs. UI (Developer) roles are misunderstood

Unfortunately, in many legacy systems the designer is required to possess substantial application domain knowledge and think like the Operator.  Misunderstood principles are very common around UX and UI Development. UX designers working in software or web design may not be familiar with the requirements of developing for manufacturing or industrial applications.

While the term "UX" is relatively new, 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 users' needs and creating a solution that solves their problems and helps complete their tasks in the easiest and quickest way possible by factoring the look and feel, the presentation and interactivity with 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.

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 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.

Find out more about Wonderware System Platform 2017

System Platform 2017 supports tasked based workflows that improve the overall UI UX process.

2. Time to Mastery

Various technical and design aspects must be balanced simultaneously - corporate standards, navigation, graphic design, performance, multiple levels of detail, complexity and re-use.

This requires years of experimental trials figuring out how to achieve best-in-class results.

The process of developing enterprise standards can be quite advanced, but once they are built, they can be used as any other basic component. The responsibility to develop standards or custom components could therefore be assigned to one person; everyone else would just need to use the produced components. This greatly streamlines the usage of standards across the organization.

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.

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 key to a good user experience is to involve actual end users throughout a UX design process. Iterative design entails prototyping and repeated re-designing and testing applications with actual end-users. This requires the need to easily change the design or layout of the interface if new content has to be added later in the project or if things are not looking as initially desired.

System Platform 2017 supports this iterative workflow in a number of ways.

First, unlike monolithic legacy HMIs, the new visualization framework separates the graphical 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.

Moreover the new framework provides the ability where applications will automatically generate themselves in runtime by leveraging content keying and model-based navigation. This is greatly improves iterative workflow and facilitates continuous IUI UX improvements.

Secondly, customers can further implement an agile iterative methodology by leveraging optional subscription cloud-based engineering environment.  Online InStudio offers concurrent, on-demand infrastructure and enables collaborative designer and end-user across the entire project lifecycle.

Find out more about Wonderware System Platform 2017

The key to a good user experience is to involve actual end users throughout a UX design process. Iterative design entails prototyping and repeated re-designing and testing applications with actual end-users. This requires the need to easily change the design or layout of the interface if new content has to be added later in the project or if things are not looking as initially desired.