[JC]

research need
  • Our software controlled critical municipal systems with high-consequences of users failing at their tasks.

  • There was a danger of low alarm-state salience‚Äč

  • User actions and their consequences needed to be explicit with good feedback

solution
  • Recreate our current system of alarm animations and HMI graphics.

  • Conduct secondary research into alarm and critical system color theory to ensure effectiveness.

research
  • I researched third party findings for alarms, color, flash rates, and examples of poor UIs causing failure or disaster.

animation design
  • I developed color conventions based on western culture standards.

  • I used redundant coding of elements for equipment states. Both color and iconography communicate the intent of the animation.

  • I reevaluated all of our flashing animations. I studied what the optimal blink rates and contrast ratios, duty cycles and the proper use of flashing indicators.

  • Based on my findings I recommended the following: 

    • The most salient flash rates fall roughly between 4-8 Hz.

    • The most salient duty cycle is 1:1; or 50%.

    • The most salient color ratio is the highest one possible. (Max is 21:1 RGB color contrast.)

    • Anything outside of these parameters are considered less salient.

  • I combined the color, icons, and flash rate to create custom animations for our UIs.

result
  • Our UI's got a major upgrade in usability and critical state salience, making it safer and easier to use.

  • Our software became more accessible to those with color blindness disabilities.