Put Yourself in Users’ Shoes
More systems installed today require access to supporting software applications. This can be access or CCTV management software, Web pages and remote mobile apps on smartphones. The Section 508 tenets are interesting in that they were originally designed as performance standards for EIT vendors supplying products to the General Services Administration (GSA). However, if we look at some of these requirements they can give us insight into making software and PC applications more user-friendly.
Let’s take a moment to review what we, as alarm techs, dealers and integrators, can do to make our systems more user-friendly. Do you only specify keypads with a dimple on the ‘5’ key? Do you arrange printers at a workstation so people in wheelchairs can easily get to them? Are your fire alarm pull-stations and alarm keypads not more than 54 inches up on the wall? Do you have a usability and accessibility checklist for new installations and takeovers? I think you get the picture.
Bob Dolph has served in various technical management and advisory positions in the security industry for 30+ years. To share tips and installation questions, E-mail Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his Tech Shack blog at www.securitysales.com/blog.
Tech Talk Tool Tip
An interface relay may not at first be thought of as a tool. It is, however, the perfect and very versatile tool to interface alarm inputs and outputs to a variety of special user devices such as those with audible and visible functionality. That is why I am featuring the old reliable ELK 912 module (elkproducts.com).
How about using a relay to trip a bed shaker device to get a deaf person up when smoke detector goes into alarm? The product is a high quality 12VDC relay with SPDT (Form ‘C’) dry contacts. It features low current draw, positive or negative activation and is suitable for general purpose switching of devices or high current loads.
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