Remember the first time you used a smartphone? If it was anything like my first experience, you found that you didn’t really have to learn anything – you just turned it on, and the visual icons were self-explanatory.
That’s the beauty of a good user interface. It’s intuitive, easy to learn, and practical because you don’t waste time on extra clicks, taps or swipes.
While the consumer electronics and computer industries have made giant advances in the user experience of their user interfaces, the same cannot be said for most aviation security technology currently deployed at airports around the world. That’s a serious problem, because the effectiveness of security technology depends on the people operating it.
Current 2D X-Ray scanners
The interface is a small panel with colored buttons and keys. To analyze the X-Ray images generated by the X-Ray scanner – to rotate or zoom in on a potential threat to determine whether a secondary search is required -- security staff have to memorize what each button and key does, and become adept at the sequence of key strokes needed to do their job. It should be noted that each X-Ray manufacturer has a slightly different control panel, and there is no “industry standard” for user interfaces. This is about as far from a smartphone interface as you can imagine.
Checkpoint CT Technology
Now let’s look at the Analogic’s ConneCT Checkpoint Security System’s user interface. In the development of this next-generation checkpoint CT system, our engineers made a conscious decision to use 21st century best practices in user interface (UI) design, which greatly enhances the operator’s user experience (UX) with this next-generation system.
ConneCT allows the operator to touch icons on the screen instead of buttons on a keyboard. These icons follow universal interface conventions of software. For example, the “zoom in” function is represented by a magnifying glass with a plus sign (almost unbelievably, many 2D X-Ray systems don’t use this approach).
In addition, the user can rotate and zoom images by dragging and pinching an image – just as they would an image on their current smartphone.
If an airport wants to streamline the presentation and analysis of the images presented to an operator, the ConneCT user interface is fully programmable. For example, ConneCT can be customized to present an image in a certain orientation or in different image analysis modes.
Having a modern user interface with higher quality imaging allows operators to focus more on the baggage image, finding what could be potential threats more easily and getting passengers through security checkpoints faster. Airport checkpoint operators typically have only seconds to make decisions about whether to clear a carry-on bag or send it to secondary inspection and anything that can help them make the right decision faster can make a huge difference in improved security and passenger throughput. That's one reason why, in airport trials and demonstrations, the feedback on ConneCT is clear: users like our interface.