The Norwegian Design Council has presented Simrad with a prestigious Design Award for the new interface of its fishery research multibeam echosounder, the ME70. The interface has already been put to use in Simrad's latest products for fishery research applications and is set to become the standard platform across all of Simrad's future echosounder and sonar products.
Simrad's Kjell Gjestad led a team of in-house engineers and designers from Norwegian design firm Formel Industrial Design. The company committed an extensive development phase to the project, to ensure that the new interface was as user friendly as possible. "It is very important to us that it is easily accessible, says Kjell Gjestad, Simrad. "We wanted a professional, suitable and functional user interface to emphasize the quality that is the backbone of all our products, but more importantly to make sure that users can gain optimum performance from the equipment when it is in everyday use. We have achieved this aim and receiving this award is a reflection of the hard work of everyone involved."
The notification from the Norwegian Design Council's judging panel points out that the new user interface is based on a considerable amount of technological innovation as well a novel approach to many of the challenges. Further it states that the design is intuitive, easy to use, and flexible. Five large buttons control the main functions of the ME70 and the menu system is logical and intuitive. It is possible to display five different screen images simultaneously, which the user can select individually with ease. The overall expression and terminology is clear and well suited for the target users and the colours, symbols and light settings are well adapted to changes in the ambient conditions.
There are many challenges to the successful development of new and modern instruments for fish finding and fishery research. Advanced products are required to meet high demands for efficiency and functionality and when the number of possibilities is increased, the products must also provide the users with intuitive solutions to make operation easier. The user interface is the most important factor in this challenge as within the limited confines of a computer display, fishermen and researchers have to read and process data accurately, and control the in-depth functionality of the system.
"Several Simrad customers have provided us with valuable contributions, including the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research and the French research institute Ifremer, both who use our multibeam systems already. This cooperation with customers has helped to create a highly dynamic interface, which they themselves will benefit from. We are constantly communicating with our customers to ensure our user interface and our products meet and exceed requirements," says Torfinn Johansen who was responsible for the technical development of the new user interface.
Olav Vittersø, managing director for Simrad in Horten, Norway adds: "This is the fourth such award from the Norwegian Design Council, the latest being for the famous 'yellow' PI sensors. We are all proud that the new interface has been recognised for its ability to enhance the work of fishery research organisations by the Norwegian Design Council and we are looking forward to integrating the new interface into our future products."