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The Challenges of Designing in the Defense Market

The Challenges of Designing in the Defense Market

The Challenges of Designing in the Defense Market

Definitely, being a company specialized in solutions for critical missions with a focus on high technology that provides support, important and sensitive, the decision-making of customers brings a lot of responsibility.

One of the most interesting aspects of the process that involves the entire development of these solutions is how usability becomes so important, in addition to reaching very specific contours and different from how it is treated in the market.

Each system in this system has some kind of menu, dashboard or dashboard (ah, the dashboards!). Designing interfaces and designing solutions without allowing the user to make mistakes, as guided by Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Molich in their fifth heuristic, one of the general principles of interface design is a big challenge.

These interfaces should be very clear, simple and easy to use.

Ensuring the security of the application and the process carried out by the user, both based on business rules and standards, as well as on ease of use and prevention of user errors is essential. Mainly because our product is used in tasks as essential as defense of the country and people, with missiles, weapons and monitoring, or in air traffic control and asset management or logistics.

These tasks mostly require availability and redundancy; Physical and digital isolation; Decision support and situational awareness; Treatment and visualization of maps;

Geolocation and a secure “message”. Requirements guaranteed by law and through standards such as ABNT NBR 15.100, ISO/IEC 12.207, MIL-STD-498, DO-178 and ICAO Regulations dealing with risk management, processes and customer expectations, impact on usage changes, in addition standards and operational requirements that directly affect the user.

How to work with these “constraints” and deal with requirements that are sometimes so restrictive?

Applying these heuristics directly into development with various evaluation techniques and usability testing aims to find the best solution that fits these strict business rules and user needs for security and ease of use.

Keeping the process safe, but pleasant for the user and respecting the business rules.

“Choosing the option that has an extreme effect should have a lot more friction than the common, innocuous one. That is to say, it should be harder to do.” — Nikhil Sonnad

How to keep the system secure and at the same time offer the best experience to the user who often has no other option?

It may seem that design shouldn't deal with this, but as Nielsen portrays in his 5 attributes of usability, from the book “Usability Engineering” from 1993, it is logical that every system is susceptible to errors, but try to minimize it. helps them in this process.

 

The 05 usability attributes:

  1. Ease of learning
  2. Efficiency
  3. Satisfaction
  4. Ease of memorization
  5. Security
“Even the best designers produce successful products only if their designs solve the right problems. A wonderful interface to the wrong features will fail.” — Jakob Nielsen

Our guidelines, as a design team and user-oriented company, are:

  1. Meet the user
  2. Promote trust in the interface
  3. Simplify
  4. Test and test
  5. Guide the user on how to perform the necessary steps
  6. Show only necessary information
  7. Explicit is more important than beauty

We believe that testing with the user is essential and non-negotiable, as well as applying research and co-creation techniques, designing with a focus on the personas and the flow of tasks required by the user.

 

What happens when an interface is poorly designed?

The consequences of a poorly done design range from small annoyances to major disasters like the that occurred in Hawaii, in January 2018, when an alert, triggered by an employee of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, mobilized the population about a missile attack on the island. This error occurred while performing a routine test on the state's emergency alert system.

Without a doubt, it is one of the greatest challenges faced by our design team. Deliver innovative, pleasant, easy-to-use solutions, but always aiming at the safety of users and the system. #VaiUX

 

About Rafael Burity

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