This article explains what to consider when building a modern embedded GUI for IoT devices.
Smartphones have created an interesting challenge for internet of things (IoT) development teams as consumers, industrial workers, medical professionals, and more desire a sophisticated mobile experience across all their devices. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) need to deliver better user experience (UX) while sourcing cost-effective microprocessor (MPU) and microcontroller (MCU) platforms that have less resources and stricter power constraints than mobile hardware.
Based on our customer experiences, creating effective UX is a matter of understanding how device size, power, and memory impact graphical user interface (GUI) design and components. This article explains what to consider when building a modern embedded GUI for IoT devices.
Working with device size
To accommodate users wanting more portability in their devices, screens are dramatically decreasing in size (no more so than the wearables segment). These smaller form factors make UX design more challenging, as there’s less screen space to work with, and difficulties in reusing the same GUI assets across a diversified product line/
As Jean-Louis Dolmeta, responsible for the STM32 microprocessor ecosystem at STMicroelectronics recently explained, “Typically, an R&D team may spend up to two to three years for a new development platform once they issue a product. OEMs must reduce that time to money and remove risk to avoid re-spins of a product and reduce cost of the development so they may enter the market quicker at higher margin and with profitable growth.”
To meet these challenges, embedded GUI developers should consider these factors:
Understanding power efficiency
Energy is a precious resource when it comes to MPU and MCU development and embedded GUI teams must pay careful attention to when and how power is being drawn:
Optimizing graphics and memory
If not planned and optimized carefully, graphics can consume a lot of memory or cause runtime issues that detract from the overall user experience. Even before coding starts, it’s worthwhile to consider these items when building a rich graphical experience:
Most users are not aware of the tradeoffs between UX elements and the hardware that powers them but, as embedded GUI developers, these decisions must be well thought out. This article covered the most frequent UX and development choices for screen size, power consumption, and graphics that we encounter — the next step is to apply them to your IoT device projects.
This article was originally published on Embedded.
Jason Clarke is co-founder and V.P. sales at Crank Software, an AMETEK company, helping embedded GUI product teams bridge the gap between design vision and customer expectations to deliver market-leading UX using Crank Storyboard.