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BMLinkS Common UI Activities

  Result of Questionnaire Survey on Usability
Output (currently released results)  
Future Plan  

1. Purpose

Even though users operate for the same function, they are often faced with differences in operations, depending on the manufacturer of the device used. This confuses the users and results in errors. Activities have been started to implement the "Common UI" concept, according to which users follow the same operation flow from operation panel of any manufacturer in using BMLinkS functions. The purpose of these activities is to enable common BMLinkS operation flow for devices and software combined for all BMLinkS functions. This will give users peace of mind so that they can use the BMLinkS functions smoothly.

2. Contents
2-1 Details

  • Since July, 2005, 5 participants from 4 companies (later increased to 6 participants from 5 companies) have joined and started the UI Working Group to standardize the BMLinkS Storage Service.
  • On May 23, 2006, a press and PR presentation was organized and demo devices were shown to demonstrate how common UI operations can be made possible.

2-2 Activities

To make the common UI operations available on devices from many manufacturers, the following  activities have been organized. UI Working Group aim to have output from these activities turned into a UI guideline for release to the public.

  • Common operation rules
    Develop common rules in operation flow and button layout to enable common operations.
  • Deliberation of terms
    Standardize names of functions and terms for operations so that users can operate any device with ease without any confusion.
  • Icons and BMLinkS logo mark
    Create common icons for display on screen, and develop rules in using BMLinkS logo mark.
  • Evaluation of usability (planned)
    Carry out usability test using actual users, to see whether contents defined by the guideline are easy to use.

2-3 Result of Questionnaire Survey on Usability

Using the demo devices from the five companies developed for the press and PR presentation in May, 2006, a questionnaire survey was conducted to find out the effectiveness of the common UI.
Policy of the following common UI was implemented on the demo device and then its effectiveness was evaluated.

  1. To align the top menu screen on each manufacturer's equipment, a BMLinkS dedicated screen was set up.
  2. Terms and icons were standardized.
  3. Major operation flow (setup flow) on the touch panel was standardized.

■ Common policy of UI implemented on demo device
¤Alignment in entry method   ¤Alignment in menu screen   ¤Alignment in operation flow
Use hardware key or set up BMLinkS dedicated button on menu screen.

Align sort order of menu screen items, terms, and icons.

Align layout and operation flow such as method to select storage destination


BMLinkS Menu * This screen design
is only an example.

■ Result of questionnaire survey

A comparison is made between operation of the BMLinkS function with the above policy implemented and operation of the functions to store in Windows folder (SMB storage) provided by each company where the operations are not standardized.
In using the UI of BMLinkS functions, about 76% of the respondents could operate either feeling slightly confused or without feeling confused at all. However, in using the SMB function, only 34% reported the same result. This indicates that BMLinkS operation with common UI can be performed without confusion.

* This questionnaire survey was conducted using subjects related to the participating companies; it was not a strict usability test employing general users.

UI operation of BMLinkS
function with common UI
  UI operation of SMB storage
function of each respective company

UI operation of BMLinkS function with common UI


UI operation of SMB storage function of each respective company

Able to operate without feeling confused
Feeling slightly confused, but able to operate smoothly
Feeling rather confused, but somehow able to operate
Cannot understand operation, and take more than one minute to perform setting

3. Output (currently released results)

Data that has been released to the public up to now contains the following terms and icons. For the terms, only the Japanese terms have been finalized; the English terms are still being deliberated.

(Tentative translation from the terms in Japanese)
1 (BMLinkS) BMLinkS      BMLinkS
2 (Scan to Storage) Scan to Storage      Scan to Storage
3 (Scan to Print) Scan to Print      Scan to Print
4 (Print from Storage) Print from Storage      Print from Storage
5 (Safe Print) Safe Print      Safe Print
6 (Select a storage destination)
(Select a copy destination)
(Select a file)
 - three common operations
Select a storage destination, Select a copy destination, Select a file      Select a storage destination, Select a copy destination, Select a file
7 (Search Settings) Search Settings      Search Settings

4. Future Plan

In terms of future activities, they will be reviewed as part of the activities in Phase 5, and the following activities are planned to continue.

  • Decide English terms for function names.
  • Examine guideline with consideration of the operation flow and button layout regulations.
  • Check ease of operation using usability test.


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