Reimagining UI Design at the Smart Kitchen Summit

***I asked Nick Deeble, our enterprising sales manager, to pass along his thoughts and musings regarding his recent attendance at the Smart Kitchen Summit. Rarely short on words, Nick had the opportunity to talk with a lot of attendees about their challenges with developing UIs for appliances.***

Smart kitchen Crank Storyboard Suite embedded UI development

We recently had the privilege of being a sponsor at the Smart Kitchen Summit, an event that’s a bit of a departure from the shows we regularly attend. SKS is a specialized event, bringing together everything from the latest technologies impacting cooking to robotics to organic farmers and evolving food distribution methods.

Jason Clarke, Crank Software co-founder, participated in a panel discussion “Exploring Voice and AI-Powered Interfaces For The Kitchen.” As an industry veteran in embedded UI development, Jason has years of experience and understanding of user interaction with embedded devices. He’s seen the evolution of technology as many companies try to solve the common problem of visually representing the communication between people and products. Crank’s mission is to simplify bringing that interaction to life. Check out the following interview that Jason did with the great folks at The Spoon:

In addition to the speaking opportunities, we showcased a variety of kitchen appliance demos at the show and had the opportunity to meet with attendees to discuss their challenges with designing and developing products for the embedded market. Included in our demos was an oven control panel provided by GHSP running a UI designed and developed using Crank Storyboard Suite. Feedback on the demo was positive, with attendees being impressed by the aesthetic of the graphics, the fluidity of the animations, and the intuitive nature the User Interfaces Crank demonstrated. We received a lot of compliments about the performance, smoothness, and responsiveness of our UIs. One of our customers, who was showcasing a new appliance with a UI built in Storyboard, popped by our table to thank us for our customer focus and to point out how much better their UI was than the others they were seeing. We will never get tired of that type of feedback.

Challenges in designing for the smart kitchen

A few common themes popped up in our conversations with attendees:

  • Creating a professional and differentiated user experience for embedded devices can be challenging given tight timelines.
  • Because design change is inevitable and there’s a need to continually update UIs to respond to stakeholder feedback and evolving product scope, we had a lot of questions about how we enable iterating and testing UIs using Storyboard to ensure the delivery of a high-quality product throughout the lifecycle.
  • Embedded design and development often requires support for multiple markets, language translation, and custom branding.
  • There’s a shift from home appliances to home experiences. Connecting appliances together, connecting them to the internet, and communicating with them through a mobile device, are all part of the evolving vision of the kitchen

These were just some of the challenges that many appliance manufacturers wanted to chat with us about to hear how we’ve has built these capabilities into the Storyboard Suite GUI development framework. We are going to address this functionality and our thoughts on the future of designing and developing for smart kitchens in a future blog post.

If you want to see multi-market Storyboard Suite demos on your favorite platforms, download one of our easy-to-run demo images.

As always, we provide a full-featured 30-day evaluation for you to test drive Storyboard Suite.

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Visit Crank at the American Medical Device Summit

Delivering high-quality design and development is important for any application, but it is especially critical when creating applications for specialized targets like medical devices. User experience should be a primary focus with the UI being easy to use and intuitive for the intended audience. As an engineer, you are already challenged with ensuring that the application is fast, secure, and able to communicate with a number of sensors and the underlying hardware. If you’re lucky, you might be working with a talented UI designer who understands the sensitive nature of the design and is able to create a beautiful and user-friendly medical interface. In an ideal world, the designer could completely own the look and feel of the UI while you work your code magic in parallel. You could review and iterate the application, collaborating to deliver a solution that doesn’t compromise on design, functionality, or performance. What a time to be alive!

Sadly, that’s not always how the development workflow goes. Engineers are often left to build the look and feel of the UI in code, trying to recreate the vision of the designer. Updating an application in this traditional workflow is slow and costly, and often results in a design that isn’t what anyone fully intended. “Good enough”, isn’t good enough, especially when it comes to healthcare devices.

We believe that the best user experiences are achieved when team members are able to concentrate on doing what they do best – in parallel.

Build better medical device user experiences

“Design Thinking” is going to be a key underlying message for a lot of presentations and discussions at the American Medical Device Summit this week. This is something we are passionate about at Crank, and we are excited to be a part of the show. If you are attending and want to talk to friendly Canadians about developing beautiful user interfaces for innovative medical devices, visit our booth to check out some of our medical demos built with Storyboard Suite, including a patient monitor demo on a Microchip platform.

We are also excited to be showcasing a multi-market demo on the QNX SDP 7.0 that includes a new patient monitoring system demo which utilizes both 2D & 3D graphics.

Want to set up a meeting? Drop an email to Jason to set up a time to chat and see Storyboard Suite in action.

Meet Jason

Serving up hot UIs at the Smart Kitchen Summit

The annual Smart Kitchen Summit (SKS) is a must-attend event for those interested in the innovations within the food technology, cooking, and kitchen space. We were fortunate to attend the inaugural European event in Dublin this past June, and are pleased to sponsor and attend the North American event in Seattle, WA, October 8-9, 2018.

With the rapid adoption of modern appliances and cutting-edge technology in the kitchen, we’ve been bringing our graphical HMI and touch-screen GUI technology to innovative professional and consumer white goods products worldwide. We will be showcasing demos of smart kitchen GUIs at the event, as well as demonstrating how easy it is to create well-designed and high-performance graphical interfaces for appliances using Storyboard Suite.

Check out this Storyboard multimodal smart oven demo that incorporates voice as an input. Snips voice technology runs completely on-device which keeps data private and allows for offline functionality.

If you are planning to attend the Smart Kitchen Summit and haven’t bought your tickets yet, you can use the code CRANK25 to save 25% on the ticket price.

As always, we provide a full-featured 30-day evaluation for you to try out Storyboard Suite first hand.

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Visit Crank Software at Embedded World 2018

We are putting the finishing touches on the last of the demos and getting ready to head to Embedded World 2018 in Nuremberg, Germany, February 27 – March 1. This year, we will be filling our booth with embedded application UI demos built in Storyboard Suite across a number of platforms. Our UI design gurus will be on hand to showcase the latest features and capabilities in Storyboard Suite, our design-centric development framework for building beautiful UIs for embedded systems. Stop by 4-459 to say Hi! and check out the demo applications we’ve designed. While there, ask us to show you what’s new in Storyboard Suite for designers and embedded systems developers.

Try out Storyboard GUI demos on embedded platforms

Visit our booth to see multi-market Storyboard demos on an incredible range of platforms, including:

Our UI demos cover a wide range of markets and embedded applications, including automotive, home automation, white goods, medical, and kiosk solutions. All demos have been designed and developed in Storyboard Suite, using the latest features from our upcoming 5.2 release.

You’ll also find Storyboard demos in other booths at the show, including:

Follow us on Twitter to see photos and videos from the exhibition floor throughout the week. We’ve equipped Jason with a new video gadget, so we are aiming for 78% less shaking in our videos!

Check out the NEW!! Storyboard Suite 5.2

We are thiiiiiiiis close to releasing Storyboard Suite 5.2, so we are excited to show off the features and capabilities we’ve added for the entire embedded UI design team. Stop by the booth and ask to see it in action. Check out our new artboard import, Sketch integration, Storyboard Connector, compare and merge tool, and other exciting functionality.

If you want to get together with us at Embedded World, please contact us to set up a meeting. Alternatively, just drop by our booth and chat with us. We are friendly Canadians and we’d be happy to talk with you about embedded UI design,

As always, we provide a full-featured 30-day evaluation for you to try out Storyboard Suite first hand.

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Creating a medical HMI with Storyboard Suite

The following is a post from Nik, our awesomely bearded and multi-talented Field Application Engineer. Nik recently attended the Microchip MASTERs event in Phoenix, Arizona, and describes the making of the medical demo that we brought to the show.

Storyboard Suite medical demo for the Microchip sama5d2

If you were at Microchip MASTERs 2017, you might have seen the Patient Monitor demo at the “Ask the Experts” table. Perhaps you saw the demo at the Crank Software booth and spoke to Jason Clarke or me about it. If you didn’t get the opportunity to see it live, read on to learn more. This medical HMI, created in collaboration with the fine folks at Microchip, showcases how Storyboard Suite can help you quickly prototype your UI, foster collaboration between designers and engineers, and deliver a polished product to market faster.

The goal of this medical demo was to take real data from medical devices and display it in an aesthetically pleasing, feather-rich, and user-friendly UI. The system powering this demo is the Microchip SAMA5D2 Xplained board running Linux. The following Microchip medical breakout boards are connected to the SAMA5D2:

With multiple pieces of hardware communicating to the UI, we needed a couple of design iterations to create the UI we envisioned for this setup. Storyboard allowed us to iterate designs quickly and easily by importing and reimporting content from Photoshop. We did not have to start from scratch each time the design changed. The application logic and event bindings that were previously declared stayed in place and Storyboard took care of managing the new assets. When we had a design that we were happy with, we moved on to integration.

In the integration phase, UI and engineering teams come together and connect the UI to real data. Storyboard IO enables this merger by allowing an IO interface to and from the UI. Defining a structured event and data protocol over Storyboard IO has a number of benefits. It forces a clean separation between low-level business logic and UI logic and it allows the UI to be developed in parallel to any back-end systems. The event protocol was defined early on in the design, which made the integration cycle fairly seamless. I was able to work on the C application which handled all the interfacing to hardware devices while one of our designers built the UI in parallel. When implementing features like live trend data in the UI, we were able to easily inject simulation data via Storyboard IO without needing to connect to actual hardware. With the hardware interface completed, it was simply a matter of dropping it in place. Many bugs had already been ironed out due to the ability to use simulated data, so the final stage of this project was focused on fine-tuning and tweaking the experience.

When I hooked up the UI to real data we were finally able to polish and stress test the system. The final phase was to ensure that the UI was smooth and responsive under heavy load before demo completion. Initially, there was some event flooding when all four breakout boards started sending event data at the same time. Having four active data streams also highlighted some areas for optimization in the UI which led to faster redraw times. While the designer worked on tweaking the UI, I was able to modify how frequently the back end sent data. After a few quick iteration cycles, we were able to finalize the Medical demo that shipped to Microchip MASTERs.

This easy iteration and Storyboard’s collaboration support meant we were able to work in parallel without compromising the design or underlying code in the process. The end product is a user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and high-performance medical UI.

To try a Storyboard application on a Microchip platform, download one of our pre-packaged and easy-to-install demo images.

If you aren’t using Storyboard, start your free trial now and see how easy it is to create beautiful embedded UIs from concept to production.

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