Audio Visual Design Guidelines

Control system key components

19 views November 19, 2019 November 19, 2019 aetm 0

A control system is generally comprised of the following elements to support a user’s experience within a teaching or meeting space:

  • User Interface – a method for capturing user input or change of state in the user environment,  and for providing feedback of AV system status
  • Control Processor – hardware or software to provide automation, computer processing, and communication with third-party controllable devices and systems
  • Asset Management –  facilitates maintenance and support by monitoring AV systems and associated components


User Interface Functionality

A user interface should provide, at a minimum:

  • an interactive method for users to operate the AV system by providing user input or occupancy-based triggers
  • feedback to indicate that a user input has been successfully registered with the control system
  • feedback to indicate the current state of the AV system


User Interface Types

Common types of user interfaces for AV systems:

  • touch panel
  • keypad
  • app or web-based control for use with fixed computers
  • app or web-based control for use with mobile device (tablet, phone)
  • sync or hot plug detect (e.g. connecting an HDMI to laptop to turn on AV system)
  • occupancy sensor (e.g. AV system turns on/off based on room occupancy)
  • room booking (e.g. AV system turns on/off based on a schedule)


User Interface Design Best Practice

Best practice guidelines for user interfaces for AV systems:

  • The user interface must meet the specification
  • If required by the specification, ensure consistency by designing user interfaces that are stylistically and functionally matching with the organisation’s current AV systems in operation
  • The user interface should be consistent across multiple systems to help end users become familiar with operating all AV systems on campus
  • The user interface, and behaviour of the AV system must always make the user feel like they are in control of the AV system
  • For each user input, there should be instantaneous feedback to indicate the user input has registered
  • For each user input, there should be an option to reverse (undo) the control system’s response to the user input
  • Use of Icons and text to label user interface elements:
    • An interactive element (press button, connect cable, et al) must be clearly labelled to indicate its associated function
    • A function must be predictable based on the interpretation of the label
    • Always use text, only use icons that suit the text label
    • Never use icons only
    • Avoid using uncommon icons, or text that may be open to interpretation
  • Graphical user interface (GUI) design:
    • On-screen elements must look distinctive to indicate to the user what parts of the screen are interactive
    • Of the interactive on-screen elements, navigation buttons (page flips) must look distinctly different from control buttons (ie volume up, laptop input, video conference dial pad, et al)
    • The user interface should avoid presenting too many options or interactive elements to the user unless such complexity is necessary
    • The user interface should always allow the user to return to a familiar “Home Page” with a single button press
    • A setup page should be included with access restricted to administrators only. The setup page should allow for setting optional variables related to the way the AV system operates. The scope of the setup page must meet specification.


User Documentation

Clear, accurate, and concise user documentation (eg quick reference guides) must be produced for all AV systems that feature a user interface.

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