Alert systems

15 Aug 2006 - 3:57am
8 years ago
2 replies
386 reads
Peter Boersma
2003

Kavini Mehta said:
> Could someone guide me to any material that would help me understnd
> alert/notification systems.

I have a feeling that if you add "ergonomics" to any search query, you'll
find enough material. Traditionally, alert systems have been the object of
study for a lot of ergonomics students... (and don't be surprised to see a
lot of references to combat situations, or nuclear reactor control rooms!)

Peter, information ergonomist
--
Peter Boersma | Senior Experience Designer | Info.nl
Sint Antoniesbreestraat 16 | 1011 HB | Amsterdam, The Netherlands
p: +31-20-530 9100 | m: +31-6-15072747 | f: +31-20-530 9101
mailto:peter at peterboersma.com | http://www.peterboersma.com/blog
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Comments

15 Aug 2006 - 7:27am
Paul Sherman
2006

Hi Kavini,

As Peter mentioned, there is a big pile of literature that covers designing
alert and warning systems.

One thing that wasn't clear from your post: are you designing a unimodal or
a multimodal alerting system? (And if it's unimodal, which mode are you
looking for guidance on...)

I ask because there is a large body of research and guidelines on auditory
and combined auditory-visual alerting systems. Here's some highlights of the
auditory alerting system guidelines I've taught from Shneiderman's
"Designing The User Interface."
(http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0201694972/104-6123481-9159901?v=glance&n=
283155)

- Auditory signals are useful for alarms and alerts because they don't
require orientation to be heard...people can't "avert their ears."
-Auditory alarms should be reserved for highly critical events.
-Guidelines for auditory alarms:
--Must be heard over the background: 15dB increase over ambient sound levels
at a minimum, usually 30dB is suggested.
--Should cover different frequencies to avoid masking: use chords, not
individual tones.
--Shouldn't exceed 85-90dB: dangerous to hearing, also tends to startle
people.
--Be informative: disclose detailed information upon user request via the
auditory channel, or automatically through the visual channel in conjunction
with the auditory alarm.

HTH,
Paul

--
Paul Sherman
Director, User-Centered Design
Sage Software

15 Aug 2006 - 1:22pm
kavinimehta
2005

Hello,
Thank you Peter and Sherman for your response.

Just to explain my question more clearly: when I say alert system, I was
talking about notifications that an application would send to the user/users
according the way they have 'set' them. (reminders in outlook or alerts that
pop in messengers that say 'you've got mail'). The mode of notification
could be e-mails, text messages or just a notification on the UI of the
application like pop ups on messengers, which the user is free to choose
from. It is as simple a task as writing a alert and sending it off.

But my concerns are for alerts that are more critical and not as simple like
the one's we have in Outlook or messengers. Audio alerts are a good example
but this case not very useful. I was looking for more ways of representation
for system alerts, good and bad examples that would help me understand them
better. Also, any UI study that has been done to test alerts.

Kavini

On 8/15/06, Peter Boersma <peter at peterboersma.com> wrote:
>
> Kavini Mehta said:
> > Could someone guide me to any material that would help me understnd
> > alert/notification systems.
>
> I have a feeling that if you add "ergonomics" to any search query, you'll
> find enough material. Traditionally, alert systems have been the object of
> study for a lot of ergonomics students... (and don't be surprised to see a
> lot of references to combat situations, or nuclear reactor control rooms!)
>
> Peter, information ergonomist
> --
> Peter Boersma | Senior Experience Designer | Info.nl
> Sint Antoniesbreestraat 16 | 1011 HB | Amsterdam, The Netherlands
> p: +31-20-530 9100 | m: +31-6-15072747 | f: +31-20-530 9101
> mailto:peter at peterboersma.com | http://www.peterboersma.com/blog
> -----------------------------------------------------------------
> Come to EURO IA - Sep 30 & Oct 1 - Berlin - http://www.euroia.org
> -----------------------------------------------------------------
>
>
>

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