Dec. 27, 2017Inverted microscope

Providing a comfortable observation experienceA diverse range of operations must be handled by the microscopes that are used in various kinds of the most advanced research. The role of design includes the introduction of complex microscope operations in a simple-to-use device.

The Inverted Microscope ECLIPSE Ti2 is employed in a wide variety of fields such as biological research and medical services. The main body can be customized as a device optimal for specific observation by using certain accessories, and is also capable of handling several types of observation, including diascopic observation and epi-fluorescence observation, as a single device. As a result, complicated operation flows are increasingly required. We pursued a microscope design that allows users to follow the operation flow intuitively.

Making the user experience more convenientMs. Hitomi Kishigami, GUI Designer
Mr. Shunichi Matsuda, GUI Designer

Because control of the microscope is provided via an application, "Ti2 Control", users can operate the Ti2 utilizing their smartphone or tablet.
For this application, a new intuitive interface design has been adopted to enable convenient support for various observation methods and microscope adjustments, achieving a totally optimized system.

Realizing an intuitive interface
design created with the user
always in mind

We have been particularly conscious of user experience during development of the Ti2. To deepen our understanding of correct microscope operation, we created a list of operation flows and searched for the solution that would most ideally allow researchers to concentrate on observation, assuming every possibility of use. From the earliest stages, we repeatedly held discussions with development staff to more fully comprehend what was required, which resulted in rapid suggestions for improvements.

Ti2 Control has been developed focusing principally on two functions – one relating to microscope operation and the other to setting assist.
What is the appropriate amount of information to be displayed per frame? Which kinds of graphic elements can be easily viewed under both dark and bright conditions? What is the optimal size of buttons for easy pressing? Taking into consideration these factors placing emphasis on comfortable user experience, we produced trial models several times for more intensive investigation.

Even complicated settings are comfortably and effectively assisted

Employment of accessories and microscope settings differ with each observation method, and there are extremely diverse setting items and factors to be confirmed. In addition, such complicated procedures and device adjustments require strict precision and take a longer time, imposing a burden on researchers and students who are not familiar with microscopes. The Assist Guide function relieves these users from such stress.

During design investigation, in order to clarify problems regarding the user interface, we conducted usability evaluation of models developed at earlier stages and made various improvements to details. For example, we realized that an interruption during setting necessitated restart from the very beginning which is troublesome for users. To resolve this issue, we have improved the screen layout so that the operator can easily confirm which stage of setting procedures has been reached.

Also, we have created an information display that employs the most appropriate terms and easy-to-understand illustrations to ensure smooth and stress-free setting by operators. This was achieved through repeated suggestions, investigations and discussions with sales and development departments.

Making complex controls simpler to understandMr. Sumito Watanabe, Product Designer

The Ti2 is equipped with many control parts such as levers and buttons to enable a variety of observations. This is the reason we felt that operability that would let users concentrate on observation was an essential element of the design.
The design staff themselves investigated user experience during observation employing current models and classified the locations of controls to be operated according to observation methods. As a result, by locating controls for diascopic observation on the left side, those for epi-fluorescent observation on the right side, and common controls on the front panel, the optimal position of controls required for each observation is clearly understood.
Also, considering operation flow, their shapes have been carefully designed. Because controls for related functions are grouped, and connected with grooves as a tactile aid, intuitive operation is realized even in a darkroom.

Design investigation centering on user experience

At present, the range of design extends from "shaping forms" to "creating a comfortable user experience", and this trend is conspicuous in the field of industrial equipment.
For future designers, not only exterior and display designs, but also user experience considering usability and the operating environment will be increasingly demanded.
To successfully deliver the most favorable user experience, it is crucial to achieve cooperation among several departments from the initial stage of development in order to more fully comprehend the essence of products. Through our meticulous investigations, we aim to provide all of our users with an ever-improving operating experience.