How to design an HMI for users that do not exist yet
Authors: Thomas Hofmann, Svenja Knothe
Abstract: How is an ergonomic user interface designed when the final users are not known yet? This is a challenge that designers and developers are increasingly facing due to various factors. Considering the ongoing and new development of technologies and the resulting operating options, new work fields and user groups arise. Even existing complex workflows can be rethought and adapted. As a result, many constraints, workflows and user groups are not known during development. The motivation for the adaptations can be an increase in production through a better use of given resources or to ease the working conditions of the users. An example of this is the use of industrial, automated drones to facilitate inspections and minimize and optimize transport routes and times, for example. In cooperation with HHLA Sky, the HMI for a control center was developed - with a focus on ergonomic user-friendly remote control and management of up to 200 drones. The concept of the Integrated control center (ICC) was to cover not only the flight, but the entire process chain, from generating and flying missions, to planning and managing resources, to documentation. Accordingly, professional users such as dispatchers, professional pilots and technicians are the target group. The system must differentiate between the individual roles and take into account the evolving needs and competencies. Therefore, new requirements arise for the design, which should enable a safe and intuitive interaction.Due to the fact that this is a new form of control center and no empirical data was available, the design of a user-centered interface was (and still is) a major challenge. This paper describes the methodical process, how unknown workflows and needs of users were determined, which possibilities for information generation were used and how expert knowledge from other industries could be transferred to the design of the control center. The problems of information representation and depth in the respective work processes are also considered and which approaches were used for forecasting. Finally, it is described why the final design could nevertheless be developed ergonomically suitable for the user group.
Keywords: user centered design, drone management, integrated control center
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