ISE 2013 Education: Mistakes in Design and Documentation of UIs

Veteran integrator Simon Buddle of UK’s SMC to train dealers on how to make money, keep customers happy with UIs; will spank dealers who don’t know what an IP address is.

ISE 2013 Education: Mistakes in Design and Documentation of UIs
Simon Buddle of SMC-UK to train integrators at ISE 2013.
Julie Jacobson · January 22, 2013

Simon Buddle, technical director for leading UK-based integration firm SMC, has spent 20 years in the custom installation business. He’s seen his share of bad user interfaces and, even worse, bad documentation.

At ISE 2013, Buddle will enlighten dealers on the tricks of producing good interfaces and making sure clients are happy with the designs … so happy that they pay you for the work and come back for more.

Buddle shared with CE Pro some of the big mistakes that integrators make when designing and documenting (or not) user interfaces:

1. Not getting client approval of the UI design before they reach practical completion.

2. Not documenting third-party integration lines of demarcation. Who’s responsible for what and how can I prove to you that our bit is working.

3.Ensuring the UI is appropriate to the job (a 10-inch screen installed at the door is a very expensive light switch)

4.Trying to work with metadata-poor screens in a world where we have rich metadata content and tablets do a much better job than most control system UIs in rendering that info.

5. Not documenting the engineering/programming interface for their own staff. Typically an engineer will install the cables, processors, and probably UIs. However, the programmer (whose been tempted out of his World of War Craft cave with the promise of a new USB dongle) will actually load the code and probably address the devices etc. Do both parties have the same set of documents to work too?

Buddle invites all dealers but promises to spank the ones who don’t know what an IP address is.


  About the Author

Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at

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  Article Topics

News · ISE · All Topics
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