The user interface for almost any piece of equipment expresses the identity of the organisation behind it – whether it’s digital signage, industrial machinery, a domestic appliance, or a point-of-presence application like a ticketing or hotel check-in system.
Brand values are on display and creating the right impression is vital. Sometimes a bold appearance is needed to grab attention. As a designer, you can use a variety of techniques to achieve the desired impact, from the choice of display and the way information is presented on screen to cosmetic and tactile aspects associated with the coverlens: the choice of material, special treatments such as mirroring, altering the size and shape, and the use of icons and colour.
A creative approach using mirrored or tinted glass
A creative approach to designing the coverlens can catch the eye and at the same time enhance the user experience. You can make your displays blend in with items such as shop-fittings or, conversely, make a feature out of equipment designed for home use, such as home appliances, or, say, in hotel rooms or entertainment venues, using tinted or mirrored glass. A tinted coverlens can ensure the display remains unobtrusive until it’s activated, appearing completely dark when not in use.
With mirrored glass, you can embed smart tech in an item such as a washroom cabinet or a piece of home fitness equipment that serves a useful purpose when turned on or off.
You would need to bear in mind that extra backlight power or a high-brightness display may be needed to ensure the luminance and clarity your application needs.
Your thinking can also extend beyond the typical constraints on coverlens size - it doesn’t always have to be the same size as the display - and shape - it doesn’t always have to be rectangular or square. Depending on the application, you could create a design without straight edges altogether.
Almost any coverlens shape can be achieved. You may want to make the display blend seamlessly with the rest of the enclosure. On the other hand, you may want to make it stand out, either aesthetically, literally, or both. Expressing freedom with dimensions, you can extend the coverlens to incorporate an element like a touch panel that would otherwise appear as a separate item, bringing everything together as a homogeneous and integrated user interface.
In addition, you can position printed icons to make features stand out and enhance usability.
Hidden Til Lit Icons
Taking this even further, you can make the icons permanently visible or hidden until lit using embedded LEDs. This can give a cleaner appearance with extra impact as different functions are activated. You can use colour, too, to make an icon such as a warning signal stand out vividly against a monochrome background. The coverlens is also a great place to present a logo, which can be simply printed or illuminated using LEDs in almost any colour or a combination of colours.
Giving your display another dimension
Finally, while considering unconventional shapes, why not extend your imagination into three dimensions? At Anders, we have helped several clients implement convex circular coverlenses for applications including motorcycle instrumentation, marine equipment, and home appliances.
Glass, acrylic, and polycarbonate materials are suitable and the space between the display and the coverlens is usually filled with optical resin for durability.
The convex shape can be engineered to provide enhanced properties such as all-round visibility, create a magnifying effect for easier reading, and prevent water pooling on the surface of an upward-facing display. If a touchscreen is to be fitted, the sensitivity can be fine-tuned to ensure optimum performance.
With our knowledge of the most up to date processes, and the precision finishes that are now achievable, we can help create a coverlens design that makes a powerful statement. Anders’ experienced marketers and engineers work with our manufacturing partners around the world to keep informed of the latest innovations and identify opportunities to add value to customers’ projects. Why not get in touch to learn more or try out some samples.