Saturday, July 17, 2010

HE-75 Touch Screen Recommendations

I have found HE-75 to be one of the best human factors standards ever produced.  However, I have found their analysis and recommendations regarding touch screens lacking, and out of date.  To place a perspective on the HE-75 touch screen recommendations ... in the late 1980's and early 1990's, I ran a user interface design and implementation project inside of a larger project at Bell Laboratories.  To make a long story short, one of the user interfaces we needed to design and produce was a touch screen interface.  The touch screen used a CRT as a display device and it was as flat as we could make it.  In addition, the distance between the touch screen surface and the display was about 35 mm.  When I read of the issues related to touch screens and the recommendations in HE-75, I experience deja vu and I feel as if I've been transported back to that time.

Some of the most significant advances in user interfaces have been in the areas of display technology and touch screens with respect to hardware and in particular software.  Apple Computer has been a leader in combining the advances in both display technology, touch screen design and touch screen interface software.  I would have expected the HE-75 committee to have incorporated these advances and innovations in touchscreen software into the standard.  However, what I have found appears to me as ossified thinking or ignoring what has transpired.  

People in the medical field are using smart phones with their advanced touch screen interfaces in their medical practice.  Smart phone touch screens and now the Apple iPad have become the de facto standard in touch screen technology.  My previous article related to consistency ... here's a consistency issue.  Is it wise to suggest that medical device touch screen interfaces look and operate in a way different from the accepted standard in the field?  I know this is not a simple question, but I think it is one that will need to be addressed in future editions of HE-75.

1 comment:

  1. Lindsay Rosenwald Rosenwald, 33, specializes in finding and underwriting promising medical and biotechnology companies