As a part of their morning routine, Jack makes the rounds in his Bubbleship to provide a visual confirmation that the hydro-rigs are operating properly. In order to send the hydro-rig coordinates to the Bubbleship, Vika:
- Holds with two fingers on the hydro-rig symbol on the left-hand side panel of the TETVision feed
- A summary of coordinates is displayed around the touchpoint (hydro-rig symbol)
- Drags the data up to the Bubbleship symbol on the side panel
When Vika sends the drone coordinates, she interacts directly with the map and uses only one finger. Why is the interaction for sending hydro-rig coordinates different than the interaction for sending drone coordinates?
Perhaps Vika uses a different interaction here because she is sending the coordinates for all three rigs at the same time. However, since the three rigs are all in the same general location, that doesn’t really seem necessary.
It would be better to maintain a consistent interaction for the same function—in this case sending coordinates. This would leave the side panel with a more consistent interaction for uploading larger amounts of data to the TET, which will be covered in a separate post.
The hydro-rig status feed on the left of the desk display is broken up into two sections. The main section consists of a diagram showing the resource collection status for each rig. The lower section of the feed indicates the grid position of each rig along with some additional data elements that are too blurry to make out.
Don’t forget the main objective
After the scavs take out one of the hydro-rigs in a gigantic show of fireworks, there is no noticeable change in the hydro-rig status feed. Where is the alert messaging stating that one of the rigs is offline? At the very least there should be an alert message similar to the red offline messaging displayed on the drone status feed. However, the screen appears to be unchanging throughout the film.
The main objective of Jack and Vika’s team is to keep the rigs safe. That’s why they are on earth and that is why the desktop with all of its fabulous capabilities was created. Don’t forget the main purpose of the design.
At least there is a modest indication of a greyed-out symbol on the TETVision feed that indicates the rig is down—albeit very modest. There is not much of a clear visual distinction between the online and offline rigs. The colors are so similar, that a person who is colorblind may not even notice the difference.
Made using tools at http://www.etre.com/tools/colourblindsimulator/
In this case, it’s likely that the TET selected teams who met fitness prerequisites, but it’s a good reminder for those of us doing real-world design for the general population: Don’t forget about accessibility in design. Following accessibility standards in design ensures that as many people as possible are able to use the interface.
Consistency is key
Overall, the system mostly does what it is supposed to do, but doesn’t seem to have been as well thought out or as consistent in design as the other systems in the film. Consistency should be maintained unless there’s a damned good reason not to, whether it’s with interactions or UI messaging.
Users tend to be more comfortable and confident when working with an interface that has consistent patterns. If a user expects a gesture or command to behave a certain way and it does, this consistency in design provides a more efficient workflow by enabling users to confidently interact with technology, without having to remember arcane details about what does what when.