Huawei has leaned on its intriguingly named Human Factors Engineering Research Lab to produce EMUI 11, the latest version of its mobile user interface, built over the top of Google’s open-source version of Android. The software will be coming to a range of Huawei smartphones over the coming months, so what did the lab contribute to it?
The Human Factors Engineering Research Lab uses a range of scientific principles to help design the user interface, based around how we use our eyes, hands, and minds when we use the software to control our mobile devices. The engineers’ goal is to ensure we always understand how to best interact with what’s on screen, based on our understanding of what we see and feel.
What does this mean in reality? Take the Calendar app as an example. When you tap a month in the yearly overview, rather than simply switch into the monthly view as it does in EMUI 10, EMUI 11 animates the process, smoothly zooming in to the selected month as it opens on the screen. This neat transition helps you focus on the task, says Huawei, and a lot of the reason why comes down to reduced eye movements.
The team knows this because in development and testing it uses eye-tracking systems to see where people are looking on the screen, and by reducing the time we scan what’s happening or have to adjust our gaze, the better our accuracy and recognition gets. Put simply, we find what we want faster.
This smooth-is-best approach is used throughout EMUI 11, from the Gallery app to the Notes app, and even applies to how sounds and haptic vibrations are created. When used together, the haptic vibrating rhythm must match and complement the audible sounds played, as it apparently helps you recognize an alert even in busy or distracting environments. Understanding more about how manufacturers approach UI design is an interesting glimpse into the way we use our phones every day.1 of 4