Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Pleasure of a Simple Early Morning Interface

Here's an example of UI text and design that warms my cockles. This is an automatic coffee-maker in the lobby of the Mark Spencer Hotel in Portland, Oregon.

All in all, especially given the initially intimidating array of controls, it is actually pretty easy to get what you came for: a cuppa joe "grilled to your order."

Granted, the interface is biased toward left-to-right readers, but your eye may be drawn first to the bright blue LCD screen at the upper right, which prompts you to "select drink." This box acts as status text, changing as you make your selections.

There is helpful, concise, instructional text, in a different color from the options (for the non-colorblind), with nice big numbers.

Group boxes contain your drink options. Minor point, I don't think the select/scroll arrows are necessary design-wise, you ought to be able to get the job done just by pressing the desired choice (especially when you just have two choices, such as hot versus cold drink). Also they probably could have reduced the number of lines around the boxes.

The "OK button" is large, clear ("Start") and color-coded green for Go.

The one thing I'd pick at is the pair of buttons (Clean and Program) above the Start and Cancel buttons. Very few people should use these, and I think a better placement would be under Start/Cancel just to clarify that they're not in the standard order of navigation.

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