Automation Software: 7 Emerging HMI Usability Requirements

The following is an excerpt from our Guide to Software Usability Principles. To read the full guide, download it here.

“A HMI interface is usable when it satisfies the information needs of the end user who is using and interrogating it, by being provided with facilitated access and browsing with contents that are easily understood. When there is a lack of information, process management becomes inefficient.”

1. Navigability

The presence of an intuitive and easy to use navigation system is a must. The user shouldn’t feel disorientated due to ambiguous, complicated, or confusing control buttons.
You also want the user to know where they are and how to return back to where they were last without any difficulty in order to eliminate frustration.


2. User Expectations

Information and/or services displayed and offered must match and fulfill user expectations. Users will have certain expectations for speed and organization of correct process management which will need to be met as well.


3. Concise and Thorough Content

Information should be transparent and concise in every detail for easy user comprehension. Although, it’s not easy for a website to satisfy the information needs of every user in one single page. The user needs to be guided with general information and links to more in depth information, which should be made visible only if there’s a specific interest.

It’s important that the amount of content and detail of the content is suitable and appropriately divided into different groups under specific headings, clearly and thoroughly. Oftentimes, content is regrouped within other groups within the same project, a certain item usually requested by the intended audience.


4. Information Comprehensibility

This is the format and quality with which the information and content is presented within the system’s graphical screen pages. 
The type of language used is one of the most important aspects, especially for interactive use. There must be some kind of general information classification which is comprehensible to all users, even though the final content may be specialized.


5. Effective Dialogue

This is the project communication strategy. Effective dialogue is a quantitative measure of interface system credibility and effective dialog is based both on the institution/structure it presents, and its capability to be transparent and thorough to gain user confidence and trust.


6. Graphics Attractiveness

The quality of the graphics and their visual appeal on the website make up their attractiveness. Better graphics quality will produce a visually pleasing project.
 Graphics must evoke the right balance between emotion and comfort in order to capture the user’s interest and recognition of content use without disguising the true extent of the system.

Data representations must be managed with harmony, order, moderation and balance. You should utilize the most comprehensible graphical designs. The most standard symbology should be used or the most simple and comprehensible, using coherent, similar and moderate fonts and colors where needed according to set standards. 


7. Data Velocity

The system must be fully capable of updating data in “real time.”
This means quickly and adequately having the system manage the process. Users would consider 0 to 3 seconds to be an acceptable time which also goes for accessing requested pages. Quicker times would also be acceptable if they don’t cause difficulty for user reactivity, which diminishes user comfort and ease. Longer times may be permissible (between 2 and 4 seconds) for displaying large quantities of data as long as the user acknowledges this. Nevertheless, longer times often cause difficulty for the user in managing reactivity along with reducing user comfort in process management.

To learn more about software usability principles and best practices, download our free guide by clicking the button below.

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