Improvements to Alarm Area Panel and Alarm Tree for improved status visibility
The Alarm Area Panel relies entirely on color to indicate status, and on brightness levels of the same color to indicate acknowledged/unacknowledged status. This is problematic in a number of ways: some people's eyes are naturally less sensitive to color differences; some monitors have gamma, contrast, and brightness settings that make distinguishing shades difficult; and at best the color can indicate only an overall summary of status.
Here are some ideas for addressing the problems above:
- Indicate status by both color and a textural shading, as is done in published figures which must be clear in monochrome or color. (E.g., diagonal hashing for minor alarm, cross-hatching for major alarm; thin lines for acknowledged alarms, thick lines for unacknowledged alarms.)
- Include a count of the number of alarms in each state, as was done in the venerable old motif-based Alarm Handler. (E.g., 0/5/3 (64/22/7) might indicate 0 INVALID error states, 5 MAJOR alarms, 3 MINOR warnings, 64 acknowledged invalid error states, 22 acknowledged major alarms, and 7 acknowledges minor warnings.)
- Indicate status by text font changes. (E.g., change title text to BOLD if there are any unacknowledged alarm states.)
The alarm tree at least prints a text indication of the maximum alarm severity, but some of the same issues still apply, and some of the possible solutions might be useful there too.
It would be nice if someone who knows Java was interested in taking this on. Otherwise, I might attempt it some day, probably not any time soon. Let me know if you're interested.