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Lost in the world of UI design

Hi folks,

I am a little desperate.
I have to write a Style Guide for an existing Software. I haven't heard anything about UI-Design and so before.
Well I googled and tried to teach myself. The problem is that everthing I found was about "stick to the real world" so "everybody" will be able to use your Software.
But I work on a tool to design and build a SCADA system (e.g. for running a power plant). There will be hardly more than 1 or 2 dozen developers using the tool.
Atm we use this tool ourself (not more than 10 users, most of them developed the tool themselves), and we know how things work. But if we want to sell it there should be some kind of consistency.

So my question is: does anyone of you know good literature (online or offline) about how to design Software for "power users".

Thanks a million in advance,

Smee
Smee Again Send private email
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
 
 
Power users. Hmm. Write em a script language instead, or make it command line only.

Otherwise, use UI the standards for your target platform which are usually published and freely referenceable. Writing your own from scratch is a thankless task, expecially with no UI experience.
WoodenTongue Send private email
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
 
 
Two pieces of advice:

Paper Prototyping: The Fast and Easy Way to Design and Refine User Interfaces (Morgan Kaufmann Series in Interactive Technologies)
by Carolyn Snyder

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1558608702/qid=1119971416/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/103-5272269-7284611?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

-->Great read on how to define and refine a UI fast.

User Interface Design for Programmers
by Joel Spolsky

-how to do UI, simple and sweet
Bob Walsh Send private email
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
 
 
First 9 chapters of the Spolsky book are right here:

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/navLinks/fog0000000247.html
Herbert Sitz Send private email
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
 
 
Say no to kilometer-long URLs!
Alex from the Horizontal Scrollbar Police Send private email
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
 
 
If it's strictly for software developers, I'd look at fitting it into the Eclipse framework as the development environment maybe - and let yourself be guided by Elipse standards (whatever those may be..)
Abstract Typist Send private email
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
 
 
Smee -

I have a little experience with this (I used to develop simulations for power plants, including the control systems).

Use general good UI books.  For example, I like Developing User Interfaces for Windows by McKay.  Search on Amazon for others.

Think in terms of common tasks.  Get very specific.  Come up with a paper design and watch people work to see where the hangups are.

Examples:

- Import a list of all sensors (ID, description, min, max, units, alarm settings, etc.)
- Add a turbine to the main control page. 
- Add a temperature alarm to change the turbine color. 
- Add a touch point to go to turbine details.
- Check which sensors are not used in the SCADA

By looking at specific tasks, you'll think of more elegant ways to perform each of these and other tasks.  The books will just give you a pallette to work from.

Mike
Bankstrong Send private email
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
 
 

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