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POV: Mission Making Tracks

Oct 1, 2005 12:00 PM


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Throughout the year, InfoComm International has presented the POV series, in which the chairs of the association's member councils and committees describe the missions and ongoing initiatives of their groups. This month we'll shine a spotlight on a project that several councils are collaborating on: the Dashboard for Controls. The basic premise of this project is to make operation of a professionally installed AV presentation system as easy as driving a car.

More than four years ago, a concept to create standards for basic user interface design and identification for fundamental AV system functions was born. The goal was to increase user confidence so that the most frequently used functions will look and feel like others they have used previously, all the while making it simple and easy to use.

To reflect perspectives from all sides of the AV industry InfoComm Technology Manager, Independent Programmer, Independent Consultant, Manufacturer, and Systems Integrator councils formed a 50-member-strong Dashboard for Controls Working Group to develop templates and an in-depth paper on best practices in control interface design. The main purpose of the control interface templates and best practices guide is to help steer the creation of AV touch-panel controls to promote intuitive user operation of professionally installed AV systems.

Using the car dashboard as a metaphor, the InfoComm Dashboard for Controls template worked off these assumptions:

  • End users may need to be trained on the system prior to first use. However, after that first use, and by exposure to similar “Dashboard” implementations, a user will rapidly gain confidence for what to expect in other Dashboard observant systems.
  • Like the automotive dashboard, the Dashboard for Controls embraces the uniqueness of application and style of the implementers. When designing with this guideline, control systems programmers have sufficient latitude to create “signature” control interface products. Some controls may look very utilitarian, while others may present a refined graphic appeal.

The Dashboard for Controls Design Reference guide complements the InfoComm Dashboard for Controls Design Guide. The reference guide examines principles of design that enable the successful implementation of graphical user interfaces in AV control systems. While this document covers many theories of interface design, the first and foremost is accumulating the knowledge of the intended user. What will the user do with the system? How will he or she use it? When will it be used? Will there be one super-user or many novice users? All in all, system success will be measured in the end-user's satisfaction.

The guides, which are available for download at www.infocomm.org, are an important step toward standardization in the AV industry as well as an example of what can be accomplished through collaboration. The collaboration achieved on the Dashboard for Controls project, as well as on recent projects such as the Audiovisual Best Practices guide, are what the member program of InfoComm International is all about. Such collaboration illustrates what can be accomplished by the industry as it works together to educate the world, to communicate important technological and process concepts about AV, and to advance the goals of the audiovisual industry as a whole. If you would like more information or want to get involved in InfoComm Council activity, please email membership@infocomm.org.


Article courtesy of InfoComm International.



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