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Warning on valve #24 and #63

Written by on July 11, 2004

Warning indicators is something we all have on our computers. It can be from lowest variation - like you mailbox's task folder - to critical applications like an oilrig interface. Most of these programs do not really help you. They do indicate warnings, which are fine - but they fail to indicate which warning you should direct your attention to.

In the headline I wrote "warning in valve #24 and #63". Which one is the most important one? What if I told that choosing the wrong one would result in an explosion because one of them contains highly flammable gasoline (the other water).

Indicate Warning Levels

The solution is to indicate a warning level. This enables the viewer to know what to take care of first.

Example (see below): In "Alert Panel #1" we have the normal way of indicating warnings. We have 6 items all colored with the same red color. In "Alert Panel #2" we have a much more usable panel. Each item is indicated with a warning level so that we quickly focus our attention on the most important one.

A long time ago I designed a bug tracking system. Such a system has one main purpose that is to help you fix the bugs in the most effective way possible (surprisingly most bug tracking systems do not get this right). In order to do this I needed to have some kind of indication of the severity of the individual bugs.

What I did was that I arranged the interface in such a way the most important bug would be displayed first and color-coded to indicate how serious it was (within each sub-system).

This enables the developers to take quick look at the list and immediately know what to do next - Instead of using the time fixing low priority bugs.


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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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