Graphical User Interface and Usability of Stipulator
by Andreas Kuhn
More and more we are facing the challenge that our tools are used by a very broad spectrum of users, which have very different requirements and expectations with respect to use cases and functionality. This is especially true for Stipulator with its user interface and its functionality.
On the one side there are users, which plunge very deep in the topics of data preparation and signal processing with a lot of different, heterogeneous and defective signal data, bringing these to a common base line. These users need many different features and functionalities in the software for the identification of anomalies, for the compensation and correction of abnormal and faulty data as well as for the normalization and unification of signal data. These experts are the initially user group Stipulator was dedicated for.
On the other side more and more users just want to do signal analytics and plotting on base of the already well prepared and cleaned signal data, without taking too much care about the back-braking and already done work of signal preparation and all its comprehensive functions for the data preparation and clean-up. It seems that there are not that many products out in the market which allow to do signal processing, signal comparisons, signal plotting, and signal analysis with lots of signals in common. These users tend to wish a reduction of features in Stipulator or at least masking or removing of all the different functions for data preparation, letting them focus on their analysis tasks.
Basically we have to say that Stipulator consists of no functions or features which are not based on substantial use cases. Therefore removal or reduction of functionality will not be a valid alternative for Stipulator. Instead we try to deal with that conflict of interests in the way that Stipulator can be tailored to specific user groups. This can be done with the help of following issues:
- Configurable menus: user specific menus, submenus and sometimes also context menus can be included in Stipulator at any arbitrary location. That way one can for example collect all relevant functions for a specific application into one main menu item.
- Configurable toolbars: like menus also customs toolbars can be composed for specific applications.
- Specific main window: the main window of Stipulator is programmed in a modular and configurable way, allowing a customized user interface. On demand we can design and implement an application specific user for Stipulator easily. Nevertheless in case the full functionality is needed one can switch back and forth to the standard interfaces on the run.
With these measures we (and also the users themselves) are able to concentrate features and functions of Stipulator to dedicated menus and toolbars without losing the full functionality of the tool. Users only need to raise their mental power on the concentration to “their” dedicated menus and toolbars.