Not so long ago, a user interface (UI) for an electronic product would typically comprise a couple of pushbuttons and a mono alphanumeric LCD displaying a couple of lines of information. This interface could quite easily be controlled by a dedicated microprocessor running native code, and was relatively easy to develop in terms of both hardware and software.
Today, the situation is entirely different. Competitive pressures and the availability of more advanced technology at reasonable cost mean that items of electronic equipment where users expect to manage complex interactions effortlessly, increasingly have pre-integrated multitouch colour graphics TFT displays. When this reality is added to most people’s experience with their iPhone or other smart devices, it’s not surprising that equipment buyers by default expect to be impressed by a compelling, attractive and easy to use interface.
These easy-to-use, but potentially complex to develop UIs can present major challenges to product developers.
Anders Fast Prototyping Suppose, for example that an OEM’s marketing department has identified a need for their next-generation product, complete with colour graphics multitouch UI – and they’re requesting a proof of concept model, ready to show senior management and a few carefully selected customers, in days rather than weeks or months.
The possibility of delivering any type of useful prototype within such a short timescale only exists if the development team has access to a suitable development product such as the Anders DX4 Evaluation Kit. This kit provides a completely integrated hardware and software environment, so immediately after purchase a designer can hook up his development PC and focus on writing and testing applications code.
The challenges of integrating a colour graphics multitouch UI
But what happens if the developers decide to avoid the relatively modest investment in the Evaluation Kit, and attempt to integrate from component level instead? To answer this, refer to the graphic below; it shows the hardware and software issues that will confront designers trying to ‘go it alone’, compared with how a development platform such as the DX4 Evaluation Kit, backed by high quality, comprehensive documentation and support from a specialist local supplier such as Anders can remove these barriers – allowing a concept to become reality in as little as 14 days.
The DX4 Evaluation Kit cuts development load and eliminates all the time- and resource-consuming activities of DIY. Sourcing components and hoping that they’re compatible, making up special cables, bonding the touch screen onto the display, arranging mechanical mounting, organising the operating system, middleware and drivers, linking to the development system, locating documentation of adequate quality and detail…..The Evaluation Kit does all of this for its users; they only have to unpack it, connect it up with their development environment and start writing their killer application code.