User Interface Design and Usability Engineering for VITA Vacumat 6000 M

The list of requirements for the control of the new VITA Vacumat dental firing system was very extensive and ambitious, - from the one-man company to a large international laboratory, all user groups had to be equally well equipped. From the highest quality claim up to the maximum throughput every conceivable customer demand should be optimally met, and if possible, all based on one common software base.

Under the leadership of the usability engineering specialists of the Meyer- Hayoz Design Engineering Group, specific usability tests were first developed and implemented in order to ascertain users’ ways of thinking and their deployment routines and also to obtain answers to questions regarding comprehensibility, intuitive operation, logic of navigation and clarity. These tests were also carried out to check, at an early stage, on the acceptance of new solutions and designs, regarding, for example, color and icon language.

It was discovered that the expectations and requirements of the various user groups are very different, that more individual control concepts really should have been developed. In an intensive dialogue with future users and dental technicians,  the breakthrough was finally made in the form of a modular solution consisting of three vPad control units, each with an individually designed software interface, different screen structure and interaction concept, yet based on a uniform software architecture. This reduced the development and manufacturing costs significantly.

During the subsequent workshops and practical experiments, some completely new ideas emerged which make the Vacumat firing system of VITA so distinctive, for example, the redundant status display, - in addition to the status message in the display, there is an LED bar glowing in different colors attached to the firing system for the optical distance effect, plus an acoustic feedback signal acoustic feedback signal by sounds which were developed in collaboration with the sound designers of audity.

Pre-installed firing software, editable user profiles and the possibility of individual extensions round off the control concept. At the high-end stage, the software is suitable for controlling multiple firing systems (so-called "multi-oven concept"). The overwhelming market success of the VITA Vacumat is evidence that the early integration of usability and design considerations pays off.