• Client: GE Power Conversion
  • Technology: HMI

Marine Automation Dynamic Positioning Human Machine Interface (HMI)

Control technologies are an extremely important part of the maritime industry. Tankers, cruise ships, freighters, even offshore drilling operations all rely on complex systems of energy and control to operate. And as one of the biggest players in that market space, GE is a company on the move, introducing new products, driving innovations and gaining market share through strategic business acquisitions.

GE’s Power Conversion business partnered with our User Experience Design Team to develop a next generation touchscreen marine Human Machine Interface (HMI). The new product would not only monitor and manage systems like propulsion, navigation and positioning, it had to be intuitive, easy to use and incorporate a look and feel that clearly and consistently reflects the GE brand.

With a critical path strategy in hand, the goal was to deliver an HMI that was both innovative and marine-focused, allowing inexperienced operators to complete their workflows with ease and speed. The new system had to be aligned with how mariners are trained to think in their environment and at the same time, represent a major leap ahead of competitor products to gain market share.

We relied on our HMI experience in the energy industry to get started. Personas, user scenarios and tasks, research, and competitor audits all influenced our initial wireframes to help define navigation, structure and interactions. 2D and 3D visual elements and color schemes were developed to maximize readability and understanding. They covered everything from alarm icons to night-time screens to contrast options for operators who may be color blind.

All concepts were validated by user testing and refined when needed to best accomplish our pre-defined  objectives. A high-fidelity prototype with limited functionality was then produced to present and demonstrate the new design to potential customers. The result was immediate orders. And that means that the new Marine Automation Dynamic Positioning HMI will be playing an integral role in the navigation of naval, merchant and offshore shipping operations for years to come.