We are able to construct prototypes of Human Machine Interfaces and working environments using low-fidelity materials.  We can also write specifications.

Benefits of Prototyping and Specification

Prototyping will help you answer the following questions:

  • Is the design progressing in the right direction?
  • How will end-users actually react to this design?
  • Are our assumptions valid?

Specifications will remove the ambiguity from a design.  They can help you communicate the essential information that will ensure an operable and safe design.

Human Factors Engineering Prototypes

The aim of a Human Factors Engineering prototype is to:

  • Ensure that users understand intuitively what the different interface or system elements do
  • Check the clarity of the navigation system
  • Check the structure and organisation of content makes sense to users

The aim is to focus on functionality and behaviour rather than aesthetics.

We can create Human Factors Engineering prototypes by hand as a sketch, or we can create them using commercial software applications such as Axure.

Specification of Solutions to meet Human Factors Engineering Requirements

Good HMIs are visually apparent and forgiving, enabling users to feel empowered by the technology rather than a slave to it.

Equipment HMIs that are usable tend to be those that enable to the operator to learn and reinforce mental models that are appropriate, accurate, and can be used to infer and predict system states and future behaviours.

A specification is the ‘blueprint’ for how the user will interact with the product or service. Specifications build on requirements analysis and user research. A specification is often produced by following a guideline.

These documents collect and interpret key the Human Factors requirements and principles associated with a product or service, and communicate this information in a clear and unambiguous way. The purpose of these internal guidance documents is to ensure that product developers understand the critical Human Factors Engineering aspects, but still have some degree of freedom in how the guidelines are addressed.

a sketched low fidelity user interface prototype

the same user interface but shown as a high fidelity specification

We tend to use collaborative methods to define and develop the scope and content of these documents. We have found that stakeholder involvement in defining the purpose of these documents is crucial.

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