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UX analysis and UI design for a building automation software (2003-2011)

By Gianluca Panebianco, Published: 1 Jan 2008

Home > Portfolio > UX analysis and UI design for a building automation software (2003-2011)

UX analysis and UI design for a building automation software (2003-2011)

Within the Taiprora development team, I worked on a complete video surveillance software for Microsoft Windows systems, on behalf of a company in Northern Italy leader in security systems.

This system was designed as a complete solution, which could act both as building automation software, as it allows the user to manage an entire building (industrial plant, building, villa, mall, etc.), but also as a solution for home automation. It can also be applied to simpler situations (such as an apartment).
The system is also complete with a video surveillance system (CCTV) for security, which also allows the administrator to block / unblock physical access of personnel in some areas or rooms.

The software is designed to allowing the supervision and management of access to the various rooms / areas of the building (opening and closing of doors, gates), and the provision of services that can be activated or not, such as HVAC systems, electricity, hot / cold water.
The system also let the administrators to control intercoms and CCTV systems (surveillance cameras).

The software interface shows the map of the areas, on which a vriety of icons are displayed in different colors when the status of some sensors changes. The user can switch on/off all services in each individual room, selecting it with a click of the mouse on it: a click makes a series of operations available on the location.

If the managed area is very extensive or organized on different levels, the interface is divided into several "maps" (for example, one per floor, in the case of a building), so that individual locations can be more easily managed by the operator.
In the control room (which can be set up with multiple PCs), each station can be equipped with multiple monitors. A 55-inch display of supervision only is provided (with a redesigned and simplified interface) including the entire controlled map in an unique image, to have an immediate view of the current situation and of any problems in progress (and in real time).

An operator with specific permissions (administrator) can also activate / deactivate one or more services on the whole structure, or on some groups of customized areas.
The high flexibility of this system allows to set the start of delivery of services at custom times (i.e. switching on external lights in a time range, automatic switching on of the air conditioning only in certain conditions, etc.).

There are statistical and control capabilities, and the System provide a log of warnings and alarms occured in the managed areas.
This project was developed from 2003 to 2008 (first version) and 2009 to 2011 (second version).

Role in this project

Within the Taiprora development team, I worked on the functional analysis of the software and the usability (UX) analysis, creating a working prototype to be viewed by the customer for approval. I also designed the UI of the front-end interface (both version-1 in 2003 and version-2 in 2009) and I gave support to the developers by converting the design concepts into graphic elements to be used in the software (developed in C++).
I also dealt with the creation of user manuals in Italian and English.

About the Client

The customer is a company from Northern Italy that operates in the security sector, producing locking systems, access control, locks, master key systems. It is a supplier of the major banks at national level, it also supplies components and services to the main manufacturers of Italian Government Institutes.

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