Instrument display design


Display is a device that provides information about a situation which has occurred already or is just occurring. Sometimes this information cannot be seen / heard directly. We then make use of instruments e.g. pressure gauge. Instrumental displays may be auditory or visual type.

Visual Dial Displays on a Graduated scale and the Values are given by a pointer used for both quantitative and qualitative reading. This can be used with controls and could be circular or linear in appearance.

Indicators: Off-on lights. They are used for display and control

Warning Devices: They warn us about a situation. They are used for display and control.

Counters: Numerically displayed information. Use for quantitative and qualitative reading and can be used with controls. Superior since they give value directly in numerals.

Kinds of Visual Display

1. Moving Index Display: Moving index with a fixed legend. Superior to fixed index displays.
2. Fixed Index Display: Fixed Index with a moving legend.
3. Open Window Display.
4. Counters.
5. Shutters, Lights etc.
6. Computer Graphics: Pictorial displays with tables graphic presentations, pictorial panels.

Auditory Displays

1. Yes-No Type: Provides warning signals.
2. Chiming clock: Gives additional quantitative information.

Movements should be natural, for instance, turning a knob clockwise or from left to right to switch on equipment. Design should conform to naturalness in movements. Such compatibility makes mastery easier with less learning time. Incompatibility makes one accident prone and less productive.

All control knobs are either compatible with natural movements or all of them are not. Controls and dials on the same panel are laid out with the same spatial relationship, for instance left-hand dial is operated with left-hand controls. Most of the equipment is designed for the right-handed people, though the operator’s preferred hand does make a difference.

Control Design Characteristics

In a non-computerized situation, controls communicate instructions of the operator to the machine. We have, therefore, to consider the design characteristics of control e.g. shape, size, friction characteristics, inertia etc.

Continuous adjustment calls for rotary or reciprocating type of controls. Rotary controls are cranks, hand wheels, knobs whereas reciprocating controls are levers and ‘joysticks’; Levers are one dimensional and joysticks have two dimensions. Discreet movement calls for on-off type controls.