A few years ago, we decided to go back to the drawing board and redesign the interface. Well, redesign doesn't explain the extent of the changes... we essentially overhauled it. We had started merging several applications such as access control, LPR, and video into one platform, the Security Center, and we knew that the day would come when the UI would hit a wall... more specifically a usability wall. The more functions you add to the UI, the more complicated it gets. So we decided to avoid the wall altogether!
Our solution seems trivial today, but it took significant thought to come up with something that would enhance our customers' day to day operations. We also wanted to offer a unique and intuitive approach to managing several security and safety applications within one UI. The solution was to go task-based in the Security Desk, our monitoring and reporting client application.
In a task-based approach, common activities and workflows are grouped into a single task. There's a task for each report, monitoring, cardholder management, alarm management and more. The following is a screenshot of the Security Desk skeleton... each task is a tab, very similar to search tabs in Safari, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and so on. When the operator is focused on one task, the entire real estate is dedicated to that task. The clear benefit is that it makes for a simpler UI. Furthermore, splitting up the functionalities into LPR-specific, video-specific, and access control-specific tasks allows us to do more while keeping things clean.
The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and we will keep enhancing the UI with every release. That being said, the Config Tool stayed the same but with Security Center 5.1, we're moving to a task-based approach as well. Reasons are straightforward:
- Consistency with the Security Desk approach
- Move maintenance related tasks from the Security Desk to the Config Tool
- Enhance the configuration aspects of the Security Center now that the same client is used for configuring LPR cameras, IP video cameras and door controllers.
Here is some of what you will see in the next incarnation of the Config Tool
Tasks dedicated to video, LPR, and access control entity management
Logical view and Network View are now tasks. Reports related to maintenance and configuration that were available in the Security Desk can now also be found in the Config Tool.
A Home Page with a list of standard tasks, as well as recently used tasks
You can also right-click on any task and select it as a favorite for quick access. Home page is also available in the Security Desk.
Quick search capabilities in the Home Page
Need to locate a task or an entity? All you have to do is start typing in the search box and a list of matches will automatically update as you type.
Roles such as the Archiver, LPR Manager, and Access Manager are now available within their respective tasks
For example, the list of Archiver roles and units is available within the Video task.
New tasks related to Health Monitoring
These include health statistics report (shown here) and health history report.
Changes to the Config Tool are a but a sample of what's coming in Security Center 5.1. Over the course of the next few weeks and months, we will provide our readers and customers with an overview of new features that will be available in Security Center 5.1. Stay tuned and don't hesitate to send us your feedback!