For the most part, when industry folks think of a user interface, they think of an elaborate GUI, which will dazzle the rods and cones. However, usability Ð the most important aspect of a GUI (Graphic User Interface) Ð is a feature that exceeds all others and is oddly overlooked more often than it should be.
Usability is simply the way a user interacts with a device. Users should work with a GUI constructed to meet their needs, company goals and expectations. Without proper usability, manufactures may be building a product that contains major usability flaws – and the cost of correcting these later can be detrimental to the bottom line. One technological innovation in particular, which heavily relies upon the user interface to elevate its technical complexity to a usable product, is the industrial scale. Whether the devices are bench scales, floor scales, or high precision scales, the user should have a seamless interaction with the appliance. When it comes to scale technology, most standard scales are provided with a much less sophisticated GUI than one would find shipping on current Arlyn scales. These provide a sophisticated dot matrix type graphics LCD, rather than an LED. By incorporating that strong of an interface, the folks over at Arlyn have created a more user-friendly interaction, which allows customers to incorporate menus, graphic icons, and summary screens to help guide users through the essential weighing process. Also by offering high resolution graphics LCDs rather than LEDs, Arlyn has put the pressure on its competition by offering a more user-friendly environment for all of its clients, regardless of the scale type. For example, it offers an easy to use screen for calibration and other important daily functions. Chores as remedial as viewing numbers are more pleasurable and make the process that much easier. While scale and display technology continues to improve, the user experience also needs to progress as well. The user experience, or how the user experiences the end product, is the key to acceptance. The main objective is to create an interface that does not place unnecessary obstacles in the path thereby assuring easy navigability. Whether an alpaca scale, animal scale, or veterinary scale, the GUI is designed to give users proper control over their apparatus. The linearity of accurate scale readings is also another very important factor and could mean the difference between thousands of dollars. This brings up another vital element, which should be taken under serious advisement, and that is the transferring of data to a workstation or server for review later. While there are a variety of methods used to extract this information from the ancient RS-232 transfers to the more popular USB port, to the practical standard Ethernet port, Arlyn Scales provides all these choices for most of it’s electronic scales, industrial scales, and digital scales. Arlyn also provides software with most of the scales they manufacturer. Sharing the data across platforms is also available with remote monitoring software. Any type of Arlyn scales that are used primarily for chemical handling, offer this remote monitoring application. Successful GUIs share many common characteristics. For one, they are more intuitive than their character-based counterparts. Another important characteristic of relatively strong GUIs is speed, or more specifically, responsiveness. Many speed issues are handled via the design of the GUI, not the hardware. Depending on the type of application, speed can be the make-or-break factor in determining an application’s acceptability in the user community. For example, if your application is an Arlyn drum scale, slow performance will frustrate users and make customers look elsewhere when purchasing an identical or comparable product. One other thing to keep in mind when users interact with devices is the soundness of the technology. In the case of scales, in order to gage an accurate reading, the calibration and upkeep of the scales are just as important as the person taking the reading. Treating the device with care is also very important. Most of the Arlyn scales out there today, specifically the corrosion resistant scales provide a stainless steel weight platter that will allow customers to wipe down the surface of the weight platter removing any contaminated material.