I'm working on a windows application that is showing the realtime status of a particular piece of equipment. While operating the equipment (via the application), two important values & labels are displayed in GREEN to denote safe/normal operations. And when they go above a predetermined level they get displayed in RED to denote an alarmed state.
Primary Voltage: 18 V Motor Temperature: 100 C
I've been instructed to display flashing red text for the alarmed state, in order to draw the user's attention to the value. The option of popping up a message box alert has been ruled out. As has playing a sound, due to the noisy operating environment.
I can see the reasoning behind wanting to make it flash, but it just seems wrong somehow (flashback to the web of the late 90's). Does anyone have any better ideas? Would icons next to the label be appropriate?
NB: One advantage of flashing is that it aids those who are colour blind, who can't distinguish between green and red, but in this case the operators of the software are specifically required to not be colour blind.
NB 2: The two values being monitored (primary voltage and motor temperature) are not controlled by the software. Voltage is increased or decreased by the operator via a physical knob. The motor temperature is just a read-only sensor - if it reaches an alarmed state the motor would be shutdown by the operator via a physical motor on/off switch.
UPDATE: Thanks for your great answers. I have tried a few of the suggested solutions. The one I think worked best is the following:
- Flashing the background instead of the text colour. The text colour remains static and is left as the default (black). Alarm OFF is shown as green background.
- For Alarm ON, display a simple 'animated' colour cycle between red and white.
- Animation cycle lasts 1 second
- Animation uses a 'sawtooth' function:
- at 0 sec show Red 100%
- at 0.2 sec show Red 75% white 25%
- at 0.4 sec show Red 50% white 50%
- at 0.6 sec show Red 25% white 75%
- at 0.8 sec show White 100%