thumb-422558_960_720There are many different factors that affect the quality and overall performance of a human machine interface (HMI) Among the most influential, however, is responsiveness. But what exactly is responsiveness? And how does it affect HMIs?

The term “responsiveness” is best described as the ability of an HMI or electronic device to complete a task within a specified period of time. When you touch an icon on a touchscreen interface, for instance, there’s at least some delay before the interface processes your command. Assuming this delay is minimal, the touchscreen interface is said to be responsive. If there’s a long, slow delay, however, the interface is unresponsive.

Not surprisingly, most professionals want responsive HMIs and device. If the delay from when a user inputs a command to when the device actually processes is it is long, it can hurt the device’s performance. Users may find themselves reentering the same commands, simply because the delay is too long. Sluggish delays may also lower user satisfaction, which is another reason why so many companies place an emphasis on responsiveness when choosing HMIs and other devices. The bottom line is that you must consider the responsiveness of an HMI or electronic, making it a priority.

According to Wikipedia, responsiveness is also one of the elements of robustness. The other three elements of this principle include observability, recoverability and task conformance.

Here are some solutions for making HMIs and other devices more responsive:

  • Idle times can allow the device to prepare for an upcoming task or process.
  • Eliminate wasteful, unnecessary output from the device’s algorithm.
  • Use an optimized process management system that offers the highest priority to operations without interrupting the work flow.
  • Choose a high-quality HMI or electronic device. Poorly manufactured and/or low-quality devices are more susceptible to sluggish delays.
  • Minimize applications and background processes to free up system resources.
  • Update the device’s operating system and internal applications.

To recap, responsiveness refers to the delay from when a user inputs in a command into an HMI or electronic device and when the device actually processes it. There’s at least some delay in all HMI and electronic devices — and that’s OK. When this delay is long and noticeable, however, it can negatively affect its performance. So when choosing an HMI or electronic device, pay close attention to its responsiveness.