Author Topic: Why is test equipment UX so awful?  (Read 3102 times)

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Offline nimish

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Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« on: October 20, 2017, 11:25:22 PM »
This is more of a question for the mid-range scopes ($1k+) from the big scope manufacturers like Keysight, Tektronix and R&S: for a machine whose internal engineering are basically fully depreciated (Don't tell me that a 100MHz scope internals are complex to engineer even to a cost if the Chinese can pump them out for a fifth of the price) where is my 2-3k going? I'm looking at the scopes costing 3-4k and have poorer screens and user interfaces, particularly automated ones (SCPI is kind of terrible to program, but standardized I guess) than an android tablet I can buy for $100. Really.

Is it bad sourcing and manufacturing? I don't really expect Apple quality (well, if I was spending 100k+ I would) since no one is at that scale, but I do expect proper screens and proper capacitive touch -- a $2000 scope that gleefully advertises a 800x480 screen is shameful IMO, with aliased fonts and graphics straight out of 1996. A smartphone SoC < $20 at scale and includes a GPU! Give me some detailed plots and text that doesn't make my eyes bleed! The low end scopes could easily be implemented on a single chip + maybe an FPGA for some of the difficult stuff! (Hell, xilinx has a sheet touting how siglent did it with a Zynq)

Is it bad engineering? Well, the recent and excellent series of videos with the Keysight engineer tells me that there are still people who care about engineering--but few who seem to care about user experience, which incorporates more than just UI design. It's like they spend a ton of time on the internals and then give the one software dude (let's face it, it's probably all guys in there) an underpowered processor and 1k of RAM to handle what people actual interact with daily more than that super mega sweet niche signal analysis feature that's easier and better done on a computer offline.

I'm mad because despite being a hobbyist I'm lucky enough to be able to afford decent scopes, and yet I cannot get something that rivals cheap shit that gets pumped out of china daily.

Now I'm gonna get the folks who'll say: well suck it up, it's a tool, it's for pros. Well to them I say that's a false dichotomy. You can get tools that have care put in to more than just the spec sheet that are used by professionals daily: look at ThinkPads or Macbook Pros, or even stuff like the saleae logic series which is just nice to use and own and beats the pants off the logic analyzers included in most MSOs for sometimes less than the license cost!

I mean, look at the BenchVUE UI: http://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/t57461/ . It's not meaningfully better than the red pitaya UI and it's in many ways worse since it is quite expensive and still requires expensive hardware. Sure there are margins to protect and profits and such, but that's the kind of talk that gets you disrupted by someone without your legacy costbase and concerns. How do you expect newbies--who are coming in from places like the arduino community or "maker" community--who don't have big expense accounts and dedicated procurement teams -- to stump up the cash for a keysight or tek or r&s when the Chinese are offering more for less? The experimenter today is tomorrow's startup is the next big customer of yours.

The closest HW scope I see to actually having a decent experience is the RTB2000 series, which still does the whole nickel and dime for features that the Chinese will throw in for free, but that's probably due to the cartel like behavior in non-Chinese branded scopes.


I'm tilted here.
 

Offline sokoloff

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2017, 11:57:49 PM »
Imagine you're a TE manufacturer and you sell a handful of 100MHz scopes every working day (closing in on 1000/yr).

Someone comes to you and says, "If we re-spun the hardware, included some higher spec components [CPU, GPU, screen, and support accessories], we could make the user experience on our scope a lot better for our users."

"What would that cost, all-in?"

"I bet we could do it for $1-1.5MM."

"OK. How many more scopes would we sell then?"

"Probably about the same number; maybe we'd see an initial spike, but then it would tail back to the same number we sell today."

"What is the return on spending $1.5MM to sell a few hundred extra $2500 scopes?"
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2017, 12:01:56 AM »
Imagine you're a TE manufacturer and you sell a handful of 100MHz scopes every working day (closing in on 1000/yr).

Someone comes to you and says, "If we re-spun the hardware, included some higher spec components [CPU, GPU, screen, and support accessories], we could make the user experience on our scope a lot better for our users."

"What would that cost, all-in?"

"I bet we could do it for $1-1.5MM."

"OK. How many more scopes would we sell then?"

"Probably about the same number; maybe we'd see an initial spike, but then it would tail back to the same number we sell today."

"What is the return on spending $1.5MM to sell a few hundred extra $2500 scopes?"
Why do you think that it wouldn't boost sales to do so? Technical folks are almost like ordinary people in that they like to use equipment that's pleasant and comfortable to use.
 

Offline sokoloff

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2017, 12:11:31 AM »
I don't know with certainty of course, but I think most users demand the technical functionality and can live with any UX that doesn't actively and completely prohibit them from accomplishing their technical task.

I agree a lot of TE has terrible UX; it's generally functional and reliable, though.

Further, most people who need a $2500-ish scope already have one. (Most of the addressable market is already satisfied.) So you're selling into a market where your customers probably already have working equipment and your sales pitch is that your product is functionally identical on a technical level, but has a more pleasant UX. That's a vitamin sales pitch, not a painkiller sales pitch.
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2017, 12:23:43 AM »
I don't know with certainty of course, but I think most users demand the technical functionality and can live with any UX that doesn't actively and completely prohibit them from accomplishing their technical task.

I agree a lot of TE has terrible UX; it's generally functional and reliable, though.

Further, most people who need a $2500-ish scope already have one. (Most of the addressable market is already satisfied.) So you're selling into a market where your customers probably already have working equipment and your sales pitch is that your product is functionally identical on a technical level, but has a more pleasant UX. That's a vitamin sales pitch, not a painkiller sales pitch.
If you can shave and save time, the investment quickly pays for itself. Even a small gain multiplies many times, and often across well paid people. There is a reason companies pay extraordinary amounts of money for support on CAD hard- and software, and that reason is that any downtime costs a lot of money in lost wages, and possibly even more money in missed deadlines. So companies pay huge sums for 24/7 support, well tested drivers and near instant solving or replacement of any defects.

I can't imagine TE being much different.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 12:26:41 AM by Mr. Scram »
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2017, 12:41:49 AM »
Why do you think that it wouldn't boost sales to do so? Technical folks are almost like ordinary people in that they like to use equipment that's pleasant and comfortable to use.
Development resources are always limited, and more resources put into a better user interface means less resources put into performance. As long as the user interface allows quick access to the things people use a lot (i.e. it doesn't badly slow them down) do you think people will go for higher performance or a better user interface?
 

Online bd139

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2017, 12:43:04 AM »
Going to be honest, a lot of the UI I have seen on test gear is actually pretty nice to the bespoke commercial software industry. There are some real turds in that.
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2017, 12:47:19 AM »
Development resources are always limited, and more resources put into a better user interface means less resources put into performance. As long as the user interface allows quick access to the things people use a lot (i.e. it doesn't badly slow them down) do you think people will go for higher performance or a better user interface?
I point once more to other markets that do invest in keeping people working as efficiently as possible, and make good money doing so.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2017, 12:50:48 AM »
Development resources are always limited, and more resources put into a better user interface means less resources put into performance. As long as the user interface allows quick access to the things people use a lot (i.e. it doesn't badly slow them down) do you think people will go for higher performance or a better user interface?
I point once more to other markets that do invest in keeping people working as efficiently as possible, and make good money doing so.
You referred to CAD, but CAD software is just like most current test equipment. It has a horrible non-intuitive user interface, but they make sure the features you use a lot are quick to access.
 
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Offline fonograph

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2017, 12:52:35 AM »
The chinese brands are complete thrash.Look at rigol PSU with overheating mosfets,look at Dave video review of their new DC load,look how Siglent handles bug fixes.

Overheating transistors,bugs,chingchangchongXon capacitors,bugs,retarded ergonomics and aesthetics in front panels,bad build quality,more bugs on release that there are stars in milky way,significantly less performance than fake specs suggest,bug ridden nightmare of software written by team of highly trained monkeys,releasing products with unfinished software then using customers to report and find bugs for free

Chinese brands have terrible track record,buying anything from them is only for poor people,its like playing russian roulette,you never know what you are getting into,you cant trust the equipment.

After watching countless reviews,I witnessed so many extremly poor hardware and software design choices that I believe they arent even honestly trying to make good product,its not like they just have less money and less experienced people,its like they dont give a f word and release crap on purpose,its ridiculous and at first unbelievable,no serious company would ever do that.They also steal and copy ideas from big brands,if it werent decades of research done by companies like H&P and Tektronix,these immitations would have not existed.

You get what you pay for
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 01:00:11 AM by fonograph »
 

Online bd139

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2017, 12:53:42 AM »
I rather like my Chinese shit :)
 
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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2017, 12:58:13 AM »
You referred to CAD, but CAD software is just like most current test equipment. It has a horrible non-intuitive user interface, but they make sure the features you use a lot are quick to access.
Most serious CAD applications can be completely customized to your own preferences. More importantly, companies pay huge amounts of money for occasionally needed support. This means that companies are willing to pay big bucks if it ensures their engineers can do their jobs happily and efficiently.

Again, TE shouldn't be any different. A more streamlined and pleasant experiece equates to more productive people and therefore a better bottom line. That's certainly worth a few bucks.
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2017, 01:00:43 AM »
The chinese brands are complete thrash.Look at rigol PSU with overheating mosfets,look at Dave video review of their new DC load,look how Siglent handles bug fixes.

Overheating transistors,bugs,chingchangchongXon capacitors,bugs,retarded ergonomics and aesthetics in front panels,bad build quality,more bugs on release that there are stars in milky way,significantly less performance than fake specs suggest,bug ridden nightmare of software written by team of highly trained monkeys,releasing products with unfinished software then using customers to report and find bugs for free

Chinese brands have terrible track record,buying anything from them is only for poor people,its like playing russian roulette,you never know what you are getting into,you cant trust the equipment.

After watching countless reviews,I witnessed so many extremly poor hardware and software design choices that I believe they arent even honestly trying to make good product,its not like they just have less money and less experienced people,its like they dont give a f word and release crap on purpose,its ridiculous and at first unbelievable,no serious company would would ever do that.They also steal and copy ideas from big brands,if it werent decades of research done by companies like H&P and Tektronix,these immitations would have not existed.

You get what you pay for
At least you get what you pay for. If I'm to believe the experienes people have with recent Tektronix equipment, you get a lot less than what you pay for.
 

Offline fonograph

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2017, 01:08:46 AM »
I had Keysight and Rohde & Schwarz in mind as current big brands,Tektronix isnt what it used to be.The Anritsu and Yokogawa seem good too
 

Offline NottheDan

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2017, 01:38:10 AM »
Most serious CAD applications can be completely customized to your own preferences. More importantly, companies pay huge amounts of money for occasionally needed support. This means that companies are willing to pay big bucks if it ensures their engineers can do their jobs happily and efficiently.

Again, TE shouldn't be any different. A more streamlined and pleasant experiece equates to more productive people and therefore a better bottom line. That's certainly worth a few bucks.
AFAIK TE is not any different. If you pay big bucks for it you can get customisations. If you don't you don't.
 

Online MrW0lf

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2017, 01:38:39 AM »
Well if people still buy stuff there is no problem commercially. Commercial success is only vaguely related to good product in many cases.
Also, who is supposed to design T&M GUI? It requires at least 3 different skillsets:
- technical, to understand little nuances about device function
- usability specialist
- gfx designer
Unlikely that these all are concentrated in single person. Last skillsets probably missing in-house. Also being a specialist is not enough, you have to be talented and worst of all, motivated.
Then fact that there is a problem must be communicated up in hierarchy.
Marketing morons may kick in demanding some fashionable feature despite poor usability (nowdays mostly touch related).
Mix that is likely to turn into tasty dish in only very rare cases if ever.
Currently I see no midrange scope on market that has both good UI and feature set not castrated by marketing or other natural cause.

 

Online lundmar

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2017, 01:41:23 AM »
There is still truth to the old saying "made by engineers for engineers".

Many engineers simply don't understand the principles of good UX design.

Also, some manufacturers just don't invest enough resources into doing a good UX design.
https://lxi-tools.github.io - Open source LXI tools
https://tio.github.io - A simple TTY terminal I/O application
http://dc-power-supply.github.io - OSHW DC power supply project
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2017, 02:40:06 AM »
1996. A smartphone SoC < $20 at scale and includes a GPU! Give me some detailed plots and text that doesn't make my eyes bleed! The low end scopes could easily be implemented on a single chip + maybe an FPGA for some of the difficult stuff! (Hell, xilinx has a sheet touting how siglent did it with a Zynq)
When it comes to oscilloscopes you are making a valid point. For an oscilloscope to be a step up it needs lots of processing horsepower to do things like math, signal processing and protocol decoding. Except for the various models from GW Instek, the low end 2 channel one from Siglent and the new Tektronix MSO5 series no manufacturer seems to have picked up on that yet.
BTW: please no anti-aliased fonts though. I can't focus on it (Windows 10 and a lot of new M$ software is utterly useless for me because of that).
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2017, 05:27:34 AM »
There is still truth to the old saying "made by engineers for engineers".

Many engineers simply don't understand the principles of good UX design.

Also, some manufacturers just don't invest enough resources into doing a good UX design.
To make matters worse, many people in technical fields don't even know what they don't know about design and UX. If all the buttons are there and work it's well enough and off the product goes.

Maybe because it's less of a hard science, it's also valued less. And, obviously, you generally don't have every skill within a single person. It's quite rare to find someone with the technical expertise to make things work and the vision and knack to make it both work well and attractive.
 
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Online Specmaster

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2017, 06:24:03 AM »
The chinese brands are complete thrash.Look at rigol PSU with overheating mosfets,look at Dave video review of their new DC load,look how Siglent handles bug fixes.

Overheating transistors,bugs,chingchangchongXon capacitors,bugs,retarded ergonomics and aesthetics in front panels,bad build quality,more bugs on release that there are stars in milky way,significantly less performance than fake specs suggest,bug ridden nightmare of software written by team of highly trained monkeys,releasing products with unfinished software then using customers to report and find bugs for free

Chinese brands have terrible track record,buying anything from them is only for poor people,its like playing russian roulette,you never know what you are getting into,you cant trust the equipment.

After watching countless reviews,I witnessed so many extremly poor hardware and software design choices that I believe they arent even honestly trying to make good product,its not like they just have less money and less experienced people,its like they dont give a f word and release crap on purpose,its ridiculous and at first unbelievable,no serious company would ever do that.They also steal and copy ideas from big brands,if it werent decades of research done by companies like H&P and Tektronix,these immitations would have not existed.

You get what you pay for


You paint a picture of Chinese goods that just isn't true. Yes of course there are some products and brands that are utter rubbish, but the same is also true of any country. I can remember when people were saying much the same thing about Japanese cars and their electronics at one time did not have a good reputation either but you can't say that now, their products are as good and in many cases better then others. 
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Offline metrologist

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2017, 06:25:09 AM »
It's easy to talk about it semantically, but quite difficult to conceptualize and actually implement. A lot of times there are competing interests.

Maybe pick on something specific. For an example most will be familiar with, I absolutely abhor what MS has done to Windows File Explorer. There have been some incarnations that had good usability. In Win7, the file preview button was cleanly available to toggle on/off, and you could enable the status bar along the bottom to cleanly see many of the selected file details. In Win10, now you have layers of ribbons to navigate to get that info, and the way it's displayed is disgusting. Furthermore, the search sometime seems OK, but often it just shows me no results when clearly there are results if start over. Sometimes it shows details, and others thumbs. It's frustrating and dysfunctional. And when I open my picture folder, I have to wait at least a minute for it to do something mysterious - so sick of seeing that green address bar.
 

Offline Kire Pûdsje

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2017, 06:27:33 AM »
I am hardly using scopes in my work, but use microwave equipment all day.

[Edit: Sorry, I had written about some frustration of mine here. removed it.]

Finally a general remark about the UI. it seems to me that the GUI's are more and more developed by software engineers that do not have access to the equipment itself. Instead of operating the equipment they develop the GUI on a desktop PC. Although a lot of equipment still has physical buttons, it becomes ever more impossible to operate instrument without keyboard and mouse. Touch screen and onscreen keyboard are no substitutes. My fingers are just far too big for a windows menu-bar on a high-res screen. I have no objection to touch screens, but just make nice fat buttons to push.
Also for touch screen, fortunately most devices allow you to enable/disable it. But most of the time there is no way in between. For a scope, I could imagine that it can be easy to zoom in/out on a trace, but for spectrum analyzers/network analyzers, please include options to disable zooming. I carefully setup the range/scale and by accidental touching the screen everything is shifted. Zooming should be disabled, but moving a marker should be enabled.
I would really urge companies to try and test if it is possible to operate their equipment without adding a keyboard and mouse, also by just using the physical buttons. This way it should be possible to use most functions of the equipment. (having had setups needing 4 keyboards and mice in front of me, always grabbing the wrong one.)
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 07:49:10 AM by Kire Pûdsje »
 

Offline fonograph

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2017, 06:50:50 AM »
The chinese brands are complete thrash.Look at rigol PSU with overheating mosfets,look at Dave video review of their new DC load,look how Siglent handles bug fixes.

Overheating transistors,bugs,chingchangchongXon capacitors,bugs,retarded ergonomics and aesthetics in front panels,bad build quality,more bugs on release that there are stars in milky way,significantly less performance than fake specs suggest,bug ridden nightmare of software written by team of highly trained monkeys,releasing products with unfinished software then using customers to report and find bugs for free

Chinese brands have terrible track record,buying anything from them is only for poor people,its like playing russian roulette,you never know what you are getting into,you cant trust the equipment.

After watching countless reviews,I witnessed so many extremly poor hardware and software design choices that I believe they arent even honestly trying to make good product,its not like they just have less money and less experienced people,its like they dont give a f word and release crap on purpose,its ridiculous and at first unbelievable,no serious company would ever do that.They also steal and copy ideas from big brands,if it werent decades of research done by companies like H&P and Tektronix,these immitations would have not existed.

You get what you pay for


You paint a picture of Chinese goods that just isn't true. Yes of course there are some products and brands that are utter rubbish, but the same is also true of any country. I can remember when people were saying much the same thing about Japanese cars and their electronics at one time did not have a good reputation either but you can't say that now, their products are as good and in many cases better then others.

not true you say?
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2017, 07:14:27 AM »
not true you say?
I'm sorry to say, but we haven't seen a proper argument yet. The former post was an emotional argument, this one is anecdotal, neither of which are considered proper discussion etiquette.
 

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2017, 07:16:45 AM »
Turd are turds!  That’s where we are.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2017, 07:39:48 AM »
You paint a picture of Chinese goods that just isn't true. Yes of course there are some products and brands that are utter rubbish, but the same is also true of any country. I can remember when people were saying much the same thing about Japanese cars and their electronics at one time did not have a good reputation either but you can't say that now, their products are as good and in many cases better then others.
Hardware, in some cases maybe, but the level of Chinese software design is almost universally poor.
As regards test equipment, pretty much the only respect in which Chinese products beat the rest is cost. 
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Online nctnico

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #26 on: October 21, 2017, 08:21:38 AM »
You paint a picture of Chinese goods that just isn't true. Yes of course there are some products and brands that are utter rubbish, but the same is also true of any country. I can remember when people were saying much the same thing about Japanese cars and their electronics at one time did not have a good reputation either but you can't say that now, their products are as good and in many cases better then others.
Hardware, in some cases maybe, but the level of Chinese software design is almost universally poor.
IMHO that is also partly a cultural difference. Just look at a random Asian/Chinese website. It is a total chaos with text and pictures everywhere! If those websites don't work for the target audience, they wouldn't make them that way.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online Specmaster

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2017, 08:33:14 AM »
You paint a picture of Chinese goods that just isn't true. Yes of course there are some products and brands that are utter rubbish, but the same is also true of any country. I can remember when people were saying much the same thing about Japanese cars and their electronics at one time did not have a good reputation either but you can't say that now, their products are as good and in many cases better then others.
Hardware, in some cases maybe, but the level of Chinese software design is almost universally poor.
As regards test equipment, pretty much the only respect in which Chinese products beat the rest is cost.
I was in no way saying Chinese beat the rest, I was referring to the Japanese, their cars are renowned for their reliability for instance.   
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Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2017, 08:55:24 AM »
You paint a picture of Chinese goods that just isn't true. Yes of course there are some products and brands that are utter rubbish, but the same is also true of any country. I can remember when people were saying much the same thing about Japanese cars and their electronics at one time did not have a good reputation either but you can't say that now, their products are as good and in many cases better then others.
Hardware, in some cases maybe, but the level of Chinese software design is almost universally poor.
As regards test equipment, pretty much the only respect in which Chinese products beat the rest is cost.
I was in no way saying Chinese beat the rest, I was referring to the Japanese, their cars are renowned for their reliability for instance.
Sorry - misread!
Yes, "all the best stuff comes from Japan"....
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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2017, 09:17:11 AM »
Sorry - misread!
Yes, "all the best stuff comes from Japan"....
Finally! That took you lot a while.
 

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #30 on: October 21, 2017, 09:29:15 AM »
Yes, "all the best stuff comes from Japan"....
But is wasn't always like that.
50 years ago all their stuff was utter crap and far worse than lots of Chinese stuff of today, that heaps better in just a few short years.

No way back then you could've had todays warranty on a Jap car...they would've rusted away before the warranty finished.  ::)
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Online Specmaster

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #31 on: October 21, 2017, 10:01:10 AM »
Yes, "all the best stuff comes from Japan"....
But is wasn't always like that.
50 years ago all their stuff was utter crap and far worse than lots of Chinese stuff of today, that heaps better in just a few short years.

No way back then you could've had todays warranty on a Jap car...they would've rusted away before the warranty finished.  ::)
My point exactly, likewise Chinese stuff was always crap but you really cannot say that now. So many world class companies are subcontracting work to Chinese companies and you can be damned sure they are doing so for economical reasons BUT not at the risk of their reputation. That means that Chinese quality must and has improved. Apple for one, has almost all of their gear made in China, but it is still perceived by many as a top quality brand. :popcorn:
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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #32 on: October 21, 2017, 10:03:37 AM »
But is wasn't always like that.
50 years ago all their stuff was utter crap and far worse than lots of Chinese stuff of today, that heaps better in just a few short years.

No way back then you could've had todays warranty on a Jap car...they would've rusted away before the warranty finished.  ::)
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Online nctnico

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #33 on: October 21, 2017, 10:15:51 AM »
Yes, "all the best stuff comes from Japan"....
But is wasn't always like that.
50 years ago all their stuff was utter crap and far worse than lots of Chinese stuff of today, that heaps better in just a few short years.

No way back then you could've had todays warranty on a Jap car...they would've rusted away before the warranty finished.  ::)
AFAIK almost every car rusted in the 70s and 80s.
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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #34 on: October 21, 2017, 10:18:20 AM »
There’s one thing the Japanese always fuck up and that’s software.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2017, 10:23:38 AM »
Apple for one, has almost all of their gear made in China, but it is still perceived by many as a top quality brand. :popcorn:
But none of it is designed there. There are a few small signs of some innovation ( e.g. DJI ), but few & far between at the moment. 
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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #36 on: October 21, 2017, 10:37:30 AM »
But none of it is designed there. There are a few small signs of some innovation ( e.g. DJI ), but few & far between at the moment.
Thing is, they can design very nice things. It's just that we are readily paying for crap, so they happily produce crap. Garbage in and all that.
 

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #37 on: October 21, 2017, 10:40:28 AM »
Apple for one, has almost all of their gear made in China, but it is still perceived by many as a top quality brand. :popcorn:
But none of it is designed there. There are a few small signs of some innovation ( e.g. DJI ), but few & far between at the moment.
While that may well be true, it does not have to be designed there to be made there. Loads of cars are designed here in the UK for overseas manufacturers included Japanese car makers but it is still a product of whichever country it is made in regardless of where various parts were designed.
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Offline SeanB

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #38 on: October 21, 2017, 05:03:07 PM »
Yes, "all the best stuff comes from Japan"....
But is wasn't always like that.
50 years ago all their stuff was utter crap and far worse than lots of Chinese stuff of today, that heaps better in just a few short years.

No way back then you could've had todays warranty on a Jap car...they would've rusted away before the warranty finished.  ::)
AFAIK almost every car rusted in the 70s and 80s.

If you bought Italian made it came with the rust built in as well, straight from the factory. Russian steel, which was hot rolled and not pickled and descaled between rolling sessions, and which thus had the scale rolled into the sheets, providing numerous places for rust to start. They were already rusted when they left the factory.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #39 on: October 21, 2017, 09:28:02 PM »
Apple for one, has almost all of their gear made in China, but it is still perceived by many as a top quality brand. :popcorn:
But none of it is designed there. There are a few small signs of some innovation ( e.g. DJI ), but few & far between at the moment.
While that may well be true, it does not have to be designed there to be made there. Loads of cars are designed here in the UK for overseas manufacturers included Japanese car makers but it is still a product of whichever country it is made in regardless of where various parts were designed.
But even then a lot depends on the assembly process. Over here we avoid cars which where made in the UK. The exact same model they made in Germany is better.
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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #40 on: October 21, 2017, 11:23:54 PM »
That may well be true, but I wasn't saying cars designed and made in UK for overseas manufacturers, what I specifically saying is that a lot of british designers are hired by overseas manufacturers to design cars that are MADE overseas.
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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #41 on: October 21, 2017, 11:26:02 PM »
I suggest watching the recent series of Dave's videos with John Kenny from Keysight. He actually addresses many of these gripes.

E.g. the 800x480 screen res. limit on their scopes? Well, d'oh - the MegaZoom ASIC is literally pumping the data out as video as that was the only way to get the fast screen update rates. The main CPU is only overlaying extra information on top of that. So until the new ASIC is out, they are stuck with that resolution. Which takes years.

He also speaks about the importance of not releasing something "too early" or you won't amortize the (enormous) costs of developing that hardware. That's a very different market than selling $50 Chinese tablets that are almost all identical inside (so the dev. costs are minimal) and sell in huge quantities. So the economies of scale aren't quite the same.

But he also talks about how the user interface is being developed at their company (and how competitors are "stealing"/copying it ...).

Watch it, it should answer quite a few of your questions.
 

Offline nimish

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #42 on: October 22, 2017, 11:15:00 AM »
I suggest watching the recent series of Dave's videos with John Kenny from Keysight. He actually addresses many of these gripes.

E.g. the 800x480 screen res. limit on their scopes? Well, d'oh - the MegaZoom ASIC is literally pumping the data out as video as that was the only way to get the fast screen update rates. The main CPU is only overlaying extra information on top of that. So until the new ASIC is out, they are stuck with that resolution. Which takes years.

He also speaks about the importance of not releasing something "too early" or you won't amortize the (enormous) costs of developing that hardware. That's a very different market than selling $50 Chinese tablets that are almost all identical inside (so the dev. costs are minimal) and sell in huge quantities. So the economies of scale aren't quite the same.

But he also talks about how the user interface is being developed at their company (and how competitors are "stealing"/copying it ...).

Watch it, it should answer quite a few of your questions.


This is was basically what prompted this post. Those are basically bad excuses -- well we couldnt figure out how to sell a better UI because we designed  and marketed ourselves into a hole that needs an ASIC to get out of so we have to bodge a trash UI until we can scrape enough pennies to design a new one  / we weren't able to leverage the huge economies of scale of the consumer electronics industry and decided to do our own thing because???

A good company isn't really overly worried about "stealing" UI developments since they are able to compete and innovate faster than any fast follower. It's a basically a poor workman who blames the tools he made himself.

I dont believe that keysight couldn't have engineered their way out of the issues with their legacy ASIC or used COTS parts. They clearly chose not to for reasons that are beyond me. Or maybe they truly do have poor engineering, in which case why not buy Chinese?




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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #43 on: October 22, 2017, 11:29:17 AM »
They won't do any of those things because they probably don't have to. If the current model still brings in enough money, it would be poor business practice to replace it too soon. That has been mentioned too.
 

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #44 on: October 22, 2017, 01:03:05 PM »
I'd like to comment on the software quality. 

For background I wrote a couple of 15,000 line libraries which were in active use for almost 20 years without any bugs being reported. We ran extensive regression tests every time we built the package and never worked on new features if there were outstanding bugs found by the test suite or users.  First year of deployment the package had fewer than a dozen user submitted bugs and went down from there.   There were none in my code.  The code was instrumented to report user information back to the development group via UDP.  It was heavily used.

The first order problem is programmers that don't care about their users or the quality of their work.  I've worked with some.  All they care about is padding their resume with the latest fad.

"Oh! You want wheels on your car?  We can do that.  Brakes?  We can do those, but it will probably slip the schedule."

The other major issue I see is the object oriented paradigm.  Contrary to what was claimed when introduced, no one throws away the bad class hierarchy.  They just hack it into submission.  So when a helicopter pilot buzzes a herd of kangaroos, they scatter, hide behind rocks and fire TOW missiles at the helicopter. (From a 1990's conference paper) The kangaroo class had inherited the infantry class as a parent.

Test instruments target a skilled user community which is presumed to know what they are doing.  That is often not the case, but catering to the hopelessly ignorant is a losing proposition.

The UI is far less important than that it not be necessary to reboot a scope in the middle of diagnosing an intermittent problem.
We all get what we deserve whether we want it or not, either as individuals or members of a group.  Sometimes this is as punishment and sometimes it's a blessing.  Which is always ambiguous and depends entirely upon what we do next.
 

Online janoc

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #45 on: October 22, 2017, 10:12:58 PM »
This is was basically what prompted this post. Those are basically bad excuses -- well we couldnt figure out how to sell a better UI because we designed  and marketed ourselves into a hole that needs an ASIC to get out of so we have to bodge a trash UI until we can scrape enough pennies to design a new one  / we weren't able to leverage the huge economies of scale of the consumer electronics industry and decided to do our own thing because???

Nimish, how much test equipment did you design?

How do you want to leverage consumer electronics economies of scale which are designed for products with the shelf life of maybe a year max (and to be thrown away when the battery finally dies) vs. test equipment where the same models are commonly sold (and supported, including replacement parts!) for 20+ years? Heck, it is starting to be impossible to find parts for devices that are 2-3 years old today.

And it is not because the company is unable to build something newer but simply because it both doesn't make economical sense (you really don't need fancy capacitive HD touch screen on a power supply or siggen sitting in an automated rack where nobody touches it during the entire lifetime of the setup) and because the customers demand them?

It just doesn't work like that.

A good company isn't really overly worried about "stealing" UI developments since they are able to compete and innovate faster than any fast follower. It's a basically a poor workman who blames the tools he made himself.

Yeah right. Tell that to Apple, for example. They are obviously a poor company because they are suing everyone left and right for the slide to unlock and rectangular slate shape of their phones ... UI is often the distinguishing feature of the product, so of course you don't want the competitors to just copy yours after you have possibly invested a ton of money in the design, usability research and what not.

I dont believe that keysight couldn't have engineered their way out of the issues with their legacy ASIC or used COTS parts. They clearly chose not to for reasons that are beyond me. Or maybe they truly do have poor engineering, in which case why not buy Chinese?

Do you seriously think that a company designs an ASIC at the costs of millions USD when they could just buy stuff of the shelf? Or redo their entire design, including all certification, whenever a new display model or CPU comes out so it doesn't look "legacy"? :palm:

How many scopes on the market do you know that have the abilities of the Keysight/Agilent ones when it comes to waveform refresh rates and the response speed of the UI, even when a lot of sample memory is being used?

 
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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #46 on: October 22, 2017, 11:04:19 PM »
How many scopes on the market do you know that have the abilities of the Keysight/Agilent ones when it comes to waveform refresh rates and the response speed of the UI, even when a lot of sample memory is being used?
IMHO the Keysight UI is clunky and the high waveform update rates come at a very high price where it comes to other abilities like doing math on the actual data. For example: My GW Instek scope is much easier to use than the Agilent DSO7000 series I used to own.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline nimish

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #47 on: October 22, 2017, 11:30:01 PM »
This is was basically what prompted this post. Those are basically bad excuses -- well we couldnt figure out how to sell a better UI because we designed  and marketed ourselves into a hole that needs an ASIC to get out of so we have to bodge a trash UI until we can scrape enough pennies to design a new one  / we weren't able to leverage the huge economies of scale of the consumer electronics industry and decided to do our own thing because???

Nimish, how much test equipment did you design?

How do you want to leverage consumer electronics economies of scale which are designed for products with the shelf life of maybe a year max (and to be thrown away when the battery finally dies) vs. test equipment where the same models are commonly sold (and supported, including replacement parts!) for 20+ years? Heck, it is starting to be impossible to find parts for devices that are 2-3 years old today.

And it is not because the company is unable to build something newer but simply because it both doesn't make economical sense (you really don't need fancy capacitive HD touch screen on a power supply or siggen sitting in an automated rack where nobody touches it during the entire lifetime of the setup) and because the customers demand them?

It just doesn't work like that.

A good company isn't really overly worried about "stealing" UI developments since they are able to compete and innovate faster than any fast follower. It's a basically a poor workman who blames the tools he made himself.

Yeah right. Tell that to Apple, for example. They are obviously a poor company because they are suing everyone left and right for the slide to unlock and rectangular slate shape of their phones ... UI is often the distinguishing feature of the product, so of course you don't want the competitors to just copy yours after you have possibly invested a ton of money in the design, usability research and what not.

I dont believe that keysight couldn't have engineered their way out of the issues with their legacy ASIC or used COTS parts. They clearly chose not to for reasons that are beyond me. Or maybe they truly do have poor engineering, in which case why not buy Chinese?

Do you seriously think that a company designs an ASIC at the costs of millions USD when they could just buy stuff of the shelf? Or redo their entire design, including all certification, whenever a new display model or CPU comes out so it doesn't look "legacy"? :palm:

How many scopes on the market do you know that have the abilities of the Keysight/Agilent ones when it comes to waveform refresh rates and the response speed of the UI, even when a lot of sample memory is being used?

You don't need to be a chef to criticize the meal. Otherwise all the people reviewing multimeters here would be guilty of the same issue, right? And Dave too--how many scopes has he designed?

Apple's LAF suits in the 90s (they lost!) and other trade dress suits against Samsung (still going, years on) are basically considered some of Apple's stupider moves. They bogged the company down in revealing lawsuits and took time and press away from Apple's products while giving PR to their competitors. Lose-lose all around.

The point I'm making with using COTS stuff is that basically good *product* engineering says that you should focus on what the user wants and needs (they often don't know!) not what the engineers making the product want, like some sexy fpga design or cool ASIC. For example, Keysight's fully depreciated MegaZoom IV ASIC has cornered them into either admitting that 1000000 wfm/sec updates are marketing wank or they need to blow millions on a MegaZoom V. Smarter companies would have designed to a spec, then been able to swap out the tech as the market evolves, so they could use COTS to cut costs.

Furthermore, if you look at costs of COTS components, the fancy button panel and TFT LCD that John Kenny designed probably a) wasted a bunch of his valuable time b) cost more than taking a commodity capacitive tablet display and a few pots coupled with a common graphical UI c) can't be reused on any other tool without serious rework. All this means that despite him getting it designed down to cost, it's ultimately a one-off. Even he admits that Keysight has historically been quite bad at reuse.

I keep coming back to the r&s rtb2000 series because it clearly looks like R&S realized this and have developed a common chassis with touchscreen and a few multifunction knobs and buttons and can swap out the hardware to e.g. make that new spectrum analyzer. They can then use this commonality to drive a better graphical UI, and can put the economies of scale from having 1 display and 1 set of physical controls to use in paying for better components. Unfortunately they decided to piss on people in the UK and didn't offer their launch deal here otherwise I'd have been on it.

And, if they did it right, when the market demands 3d VR scopeview nextgen 5000+++ they can just swap out the display hardware rather than having it tightly coupled to their measurement engine, like with MegaZoom IV (seriously whoever decided that ought to be slapped, what a dumb move)

John Kenny even admits that NI does exactly this: they designed one really really really good voltmeter (I think) and then turn all their other measurement tools into frontends for that. They then spent time on making a decent (for t&m) software, labview (yes, i know) that they can sell for a much, much higher margin than any hardware.





 

Online janoc

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #48 on: October 23, 2017, 08:24:34 PM »
How many scopes on the market do you know that have the abilities of the Keysight/Agilent ones when it comes to waveform refresh rates and the response speed of the UI, even when a lot of sample memory is being used?
IMHO the Keysight UI is clunky and the high waveform update rates come at a very high price where it comes to other abilities like doing math on the actual data. For example: My GW Instek scope is much easier to use than the Agilent DSO7000 series I used to own.

Certainly, but I guess the made a conscious decision to prioritize one over the other. E.g. my Rigol is pretty terrible on both aspects  :-//
 

Online bd139

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #49 on: October 23, 2017, 08:36:23 PM »
Incidentally, I noticed something the other day. I was standing in the control cabin for a nice modern x-ray facility. Turned out it was 10 years old. Also turned out the UI was shit and the interface laggy as well!

I think this is just the status quo on low volume high value products.

Rigol is not that bad actually. There are clearly compromises but the sort of compromise that results from people sitting down in a meeting and asking "how the hell do we do X?" rather than prescriptive like Apple for example which is "we will burn the whole tree down and grow it again until it looks about right". The UI is discoverable which is what is important. I haven't read the manual yet and I probably won't have to. Bar referencing the SCPI documentation for the DG1022Z, I've quite happily set up an SNA type system with a DG1054Z and DG1022Z and power sensor just by playing with it. That's pretty good  :-+
 

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #50 on: October 23, 2017, 08:43:27 PM »
User interface can be so personal as well, some favor touch screens, some push buttons, other rotary controls etc etc. In other words the designers are bound not to please somebody whatever they do.
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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #51 on: October 23, 2017, 08:47:44 PM »
You don't need to be a chef to criticize the meal. Otherwise all the people reviewing multimeters here would be guilty of the same issue, right? And Dave too--how many scopes has he designed?

You don't need to be a chef but unless you are actually a chef you are unlikely to understand (or even be aware of) a lot of the rationale that went into the design. Anyone can criticize, but the weight such criticism carries tends to be proportional to their experience ...

Furthermore, if you look at costs of COTS components, the fancy button panel and TFT LCD that John Kenny designed probably a) wasted a bunch of his valuable time b) cost more than taking a commodity capacitive tablet display and a few pots coupled with a common graphical UI c) can't be reused on any other tool without serious rework. All this means that despite him getting it designed down to cost, it's ultimately a one-off. Even he admits that Keysight has historically been quite bad at reuse.

I keep coming back to the r&s rtb2000 series because it clearly looks like R&S realized this and have developed a common chassis with touchscreen and a few multifunction knobs and buttons and can swap out the hardware to e.g. make that new spectrum analyzer. They can then use this commonality to drive a better graphical UI, and can put the economies of scale from having 1 display and 1 set of physical controls to use in paying for better components. Unfortunately they decided to piss on people in the UK and didn't offer their launch deal here otherwise I'd have been on it.

And, if they did it right, when the market demands 3d VR scopeview nextgen 5000+++ they can just swap out the display hardware rather than having it tightly coupled to their measurement engine, like with MegaZoom IV (seriously whoever decided that ought to be slapped, what a dumb move)

So you are comparing a custom panel with a COTS tablet. I guess you have totally missed the part when that product has been designed (5+ years ago) - how many cheap COTS tablets with capacitive touch have been available back then? First iPad that has introduced this technology to the mass market showed up in 2010, some 7 years ago. And requiring a high powered SoC to drive it thanks to the high speed interface. Not a problem on the iPad where you need it anyway but would you accept $200 extra cost on a multimeter or a power supply for this?

Also how long does a tablet screen typically remain on the market? 6-12 months? What will you do afterwards? Ditch your R&D and redo the product from scratch because the display isn't available anymore? E.g. their the HP 34401A bench meter stopped being officially supported only last year - after 24 years. And the replacement parts (e.g. to fix the dim VFD displays) are still available for it.

At our company we have been facing exactly this decision for a simulator screen. After realizing that we will certainly not be able to replace or update a tablet used for the screen once it breaks because it will not be available anymore, we have gone with much less fancy but more robust solution using an industrial touch screen that will be available even 10 years later.

This is why you won't see these tablet displays in products that are meant for industrial (as opposed to consumer) markets.

The R&S RTB2000 is a much newer product than the Keysights you are criticizing (which are on the market for years now and took another several before to develop). When the MegaZoom IV was developed it was pretty much the only way of doing things, considering the amount of high speed data you need to transfer. And again, hindsight is wonderful but one cannot design products with components that will only become available almost a decade later!

John Kenny even admits that NI does exactly this: they designed one really really really good voltmeter (I think) and then turn all their other measurement tools into frontends for that. They then spent time on making a decent (for t&m) software, labview (yes, i know) that they can sell for a much, much higher margin than any hardware.

He also said that Keysight is doing this (or going in that direction) too. Why do you think he spoke about unifying the front panels and transferring the know-how across the various departments? It is literally his job to ensure it.
 

Online Specmaster

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #52 on: October 23, 2017, 09:09:11 PM »
You don't need to be a chef to criticize the meal. Otherwise all the people reviewing multimeters here would be guilty of the same issue, right? And Dave too--how many scopes has he designed?

You don't need to be a chef but unless you are actually a chef you are unlikely to understand (or even be aware of) a lot of the rationale that went into the design. Anyone can criticize, but the weight such criticism carries tends to be proportional to their experience ...

Furthermore, if you look at costs of COTS components, the fancy button panel and TFT LCD that John Kenny designed probably a) wasted a bunch of his valuable time b) cost more than taking a commodity capacitive tablet display and a few pots coupled with a common graphical UI c) can't be reused on any other tool without serious rework. All this means that despite him getting it designed down to cost, it's ultimately a one-off. Even he admits that Keysight has historically been quite bad at reuse.

I keep coming back to the r&s rtb2000 series because it clearly looks like R&S realized this and have developed a common chassis with touchscreen and a few multifunction knobs and buttons and can swap out the hardware to e.g. make that new spectrum analyzer. They can then use this commonality to drive a better graphical UI, and can put the economies of scale from having 1 display and 1 set of physical controls to use in paying for better components. Unfortunately they decided to piss on people in the UK and didn't offer their launch deal here otherwise I'd have been on it.

And, if they did it right, when the market demands 3d VR scopeview nextgen 5000+++ they can just swap out the display hardware rather than having it tightly coupled to their measurement engine, like with MegaZoom IV (seriously whoever decided that ought to be slapped, what a dumb move)

So you are comparing a custom panel with a COTS tablet. I guess you have totally missed the part when that product has been designed (5+ years ago) - how many cheap COTS tablets with capacitive touch have been available back then? First iPad that has introduced this technology to the mass market showed up in 2010, some 7 years ago. And requiring a high powered SoC to drive it thanks to the high speed interface. Not a problem on the iPad where you need it anyway but would you accept $200 extra cost on a multimeter or a power supply for this?

Also how long does a tablet screen typically remain on the market? 6-12 months? What will you do afterwards? Ditch your R&D and redo the product from scratch because the display isn't available anymore? E.g. their the HP 34401A bench meter stopped being officially supported only last year - after 24 years. And the replacement parts (e.g. to fix the dim VFD displays) are still available for it.

At our company we have been facing exactly this decision for a simulator screen. After realizing that we will certainly not be able to replace or update a tablet used for the screen once it breaks because it will not be available anymore, we have gone with much less fancy but more robust solution using an industrial touch screen that will be available even 10 years later.

This is why you won't see these tablet displays in products that are meant for industrial (as opposed to consumer) markets.

The R&S RTB2000 is a much newer product than the Keysights you are criticizing (which are on the market for years now and took another several before to develop). When the MegaZoom IV was developed it was pretty much the only way of doing things, considering the amount of high speed data you need to transfer. And again, hindsight is wonderful but one cannot design products with components that will only become available almost a decade later!

John Kenny even admits that NI does exactly this: they designed one really really really good voltmeter (I think) and then turn all their other measurement tools into frontends for that. They then spent time on making a decent (for t&m) software, labview (yes, i know) that they can sell for a much, much higher margin than any hardware.

He also said that Keysight is doing this (or going in that direction) too. Why do you think he spoke about unifying the front panels and transferring the know-how across the various departments? It is literally his job to ensure it.
All very valid points, also of course the more complicated interface such as a touch also means that the product becomes less of a DIY repairable item and more a RTB product once the warranty has expired and they are not as robust either. They also require the user to look at what they are doing rather using the tactile feel of a control, which is not always a good thing.

In the case of a car, it is becoming more popular to control more functions via a touch screen and that is without a doubt a users nightmare because it demands the driver (operator) has to their eyes off the thing they should be concentrating on, in order to operate something else...
Who let Murphy in?
 

Offline Hydron

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #53 on: October 23, 2017, 10:46:25 PM »
Ugh, touchscreens in cars are the worst. OK sure for some features which you really must be stopped for anyway it's fine, but anything that is reasonable to do while driving should be available by a button/knob that can be found and operated without looking away from the road.

Given that higher end T&M equipment often uses Windows (plus custom drivers for acquisition boards etc) for a base, I'm wondering why nobody seems to use Android as a base for lower end ARM-based kit. It would give you highly optimised UI&touchscreen performance, networking/usb/storage stacks, a well-known user application development environment and a whole lot of other useful stuff for free.
Getting data into the Android system may not be straightforward (I don't know how much high speed peripheral connectivity the phone/tablet SoCs have, nor what sort of software access is possible) but I suspect at the very least that the camera port would allow for something to be done.
Pitfalls that I can see are network security, updating and hardware obsolescence (parts aimed at consumer electronics might not stick around long enough for T&M product cycles).

I'm interested to know if anyone is doing this sort of thing. Would be nice if T&M manufacturers could spend their time/money on building nice kit rather than re-inventing the wheel coding laggy touch UIs!
 

Offline technogeeky

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #54 on: October 23, 2017, 11:08:16 PM »
I was really impressed with some of the finer detail on the most recent Rhode and Schwartz scopes. Especially with how it handles decoding and associated text, even in small spaces.
 

Offline JPortici

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #55 on: October 23, 2017, 11:09:20 PM »
Ugh, touchscreens in cars are the worst. OK sure for some features which you really must be stopped for anyway it's fine, but anything that is reasonable to do while driving should be available by a button/knob that can be found and operated without looking away from the road.

don't worry, better brands like audi and VW still have all the physical buttons you need

(the full-screen dashboard in the new audi is astounding)

other manufacturers like renault not oly made retarded decisions in the controls (like wheel for changing radio station/tracks, start and end call and buttons for volume :palm: ) but you also have some of the functions like the navigator that are almost impossible to use without the touch screen.. and you can't use the touch screen while driving. It's not like you may have a passenger with you..
 

Online MrW0lf

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #56 on: October 23, 2017, 11:29:56 PM »
don't worry, better brands like audi and VW still have all the physical buttons you need

Not for long. Premium also working hard at creating rolling smartphones:

Old Porsche Cayenne:
https://www.soft-in.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/head-unit-based-on-texas-instruments-jacinto-5-and-omap-4-soft-in.jpg
New one:
http://autoinfoquest.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/2019-Porsche-Cayenne-S-_17_.jpg
|O
Seems one has to look at center console now to find suspension settings etc. Good luck doing that at autobahn speed in autumn.

Not first time it is fashionable to f... up cars:
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/bb/33/60/bb3360a2813c25141a02ef2c1d6bb673.jpg

Think it is for good however. Now I can keep all the money for buying T&M stuff :phew: - these new tablets on wheels induce zero temptation.
 

Offline Hydron

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #57 on: October 23, 2017, 11:48:22 PM »
ahahha i like the pics, especially the last one

I think i'd prefer a happy medium between the two Porsche dashes. The first looks like something vomited controls all over the interior (but is likely much easier to deal with while driving!).
 

Online MrW0lf

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #58 on: October 23, 2017, 11:59:18 PM »
BTW they are at it in the sky too:
http://www.itv.com/news/2014-07-10/new-jet-fighter-plane-uses-syri-and-ipad-touch-screens/
Quote
The RAF's new F-35 fighter jet will use Siri-style voice control and iPad-style touch screens in its cockpit.
...
The cockpit runs on 8.6 million lines of computer code and has just two iPad-style touch screens.

What could go wrong :popcorn:
 

Online bd139

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #59 on: October 24, 2017, 12:03:00 AM »
Well if it's like my phone, every time I say "what cereal do you want?" in the morning it assumes I've said "hey siri".

So when you radio your wingman and ask "what sandwich?" it'll clearly interpret that as "launch sidewinders!"
 

Offline ogden

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #60 on: October 24, 2017, 12:47:01 AM »
You don't need to be a chef but unless you are actually a chef you are unlikely to understand (or even be aware of) a lot of the rationale that went into the design. Anyone can criticize, but the weight such criticism carries tends to be proportional to their experience ...

Design experience obviously helps, but it does not define good reviewer. - If my meal tastes like a chit and I am not satisfied with it, then I don't care that other chefs possibly appreciate rationale put into it   :popcorn:
 

Online Specmaster

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #61 on: October 24, 2017, 02:16:19 AM »
BTW they are at it in the sky too:
http://www.itv.com/news/2014-07-10/new-jet-fighter-plane-uses-syri-and-ipad-touch-screens/
Quote
The RAF's new F-35 fighter jet will use Siri-style voice control and iPad-style touch screens in its cockpit.
...
The cockpit runs on 8.6 million lines of computer code and has just two iPad-style touch screens.

What could go wrong :popcorn:
Thats not going to be easy to operate then with their gloves on is it. Touch screens can be difficult enough and unresponsive at times without gloves let alone with them.
Who let Murphy in?
 

Online MrW0lf

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #62 on: October 24, 2017, 03:21:44 AM »
Quote
The pilot's tasks is not flying the jet any more

Think this explains it. Accurate business is over. Seems "pilot" job is just draw general area on the map to destroy and watch Simpsons while plane is dumping goods. Much same with cars - driving not important - just keep updating your status in FB and perhaps buy some s*it that they computed out of your in-car discussion. Now if getting back to T&M - measurement machine is much more helpless w/o human compared to car or fighter plane. So various "dumbuser" interface trends do not apply too well. Tek5 + "drag to basket" is prime example :rant:
 

Offline sarel.wagner

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #63 on: October 24, 2017, 04:53:32 AM »
So ARM Cortex and the like architectures are popular. Look at Smart devices. So how about Android or Linux. The UX for those have matured. Base the core of a design on the Cortex and O/S that makes sense. Use LCD or OLED touch screen, secure long term supply or buy volumes. Then add the buttons  for the oft use functions. By doing that and using the existing design tools, the development time can be reduced, the UX standardised and lots of money saved.... Screen form factors between Phones and tablets are mostly standard. Most of the new releases will fit one of those, also various manufacturers available, same for the Cortex.  :popcorn: Pays your monies for the license and shorten the expensive engineering time.

Offline Kilo Tango

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Re: Why is test equipment UX so awful?
« Reply #64 on: October 26, 2017, 10:04:36 AM »
Perhaps its time to take the whole interaction with instruments to a new level.

Forget all these silly controls, use an audio interface. Not just “ turn up the gain on channel 1”, take it further. We are heading to an era where AI systems are becoming the norm, so what you want will get is “ Hello Scope, channel 1 is the output of a Mini circuits VCO running at 235MHz, opinions please”. And the scope replies “ Certainly Dave, the output looks slightly overloaded, some 3rd harmonic distortion there, and the power supply is delivering more current than would be expected on the 5V rail. Would you like me to select a better buffer op amp for you ?”.

“ By the way the AE35 unit...” 

In this scenario you don’t even need a screen…….

Ken
 


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