In Canada, working on a machine for the lumber industry. The machine needs to be CE certifiable. I'm working on icons right now, and I've searched the subject to death and read through what I think are the 2006 Directives but there is no mention of UI design specifically. Am I missing anything? Do I have to draw icons/follow specific button functionality or anything within a set of rules/limitations? This is the first time we're certifying for CE as up until now we've been strictly CSA and none of the engineers here know of limitations for HMI/UI.

  • Are there any standards that the CE certification process requires me, as a developer of the front end user interface for a CNC grinder, to follow?
  • Do icons have to vaguely or specifically look similar to pre-existing icons such as the "corrosive material" that has to be applied physically to certain areas?
  • Are there any rules that buttons or controls within the application must follow? For instance: in order to jog an axis of the machine, the UI button performing that action needs to be depressed the entire time as opposed to a click-on, click-off system.

Any pointing in the right direction would be really helpful and appreciated.

  • I'm certainly no expert on CE regulations, but I don't see anything that indicates there's a UI component to CE certification. It appears mainly to be a hardware/manufacturing process issue.
    – DA01
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 17:35
  • This is what I had assumed as well. And I've been reading as much as I can freely online, but I figured not finding anything doesn't mean that there isn't anything, just that I'm not searching well enough. So I posted the question in the hopes of being 100% sure. For CSA reqs, we needed to purchase the standards book, figured it was the same case with the european standards but have not been able to find anything other than the free booklet from a not very credible looking site. Commented May 22, 2015 at 18:32
  • Unfortunately, I don't know that this is really a UX question. I think you need to find someone well versed in these particular regulations.
    – DA01
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 18:42
  • Can you provide the links to the information that you are referring to?
    – Michael Lai
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 22:59

2 Answers 2


Yes the directive 2006/42/EC seems to be a bit vague when it comes to buttons or UI in general. From the directive, chapter 1.2.2 Control devices:

  • clearly visible and identifiable, using pictograms where appropriate

Yes, seems reasonable. But as @slyimperator said, icons can be culturally defined. I think that any CNC machinery made in Europe conforms with the directive, you could take a look at one of them?

Additionally Guide to application of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC expands this a bit. From §186 Identification of control devices (emphasis added):

The first indent of section 1.2.2 on the visibility and clear identification of control devices, aims to enable operators to use the devices without hesitation and avoid unintended commands due to operators confusing one control device with another. Since operators are often liable to perform different tasks and use several different machines in the course of their activity, it is important for manufacturers to identify control devices using, as far as possible, standardised colours, shapes and pictograms so that operators are not surprised when they change tasks or move from one machine to another. If the function of a control device is obvious from its standard shape and location such as, for example, a steering wheel or handlebars on mobile machinery, additional means of identification are not required.

If jogging an axis of the machine is something that can be hazardous to user then yes, action to do it must be designed so that it couldn't happen by accident, from the same chapter 1.2.2 Control devices:

designed or protected in such a way that the desired effect, where a hazard is involved, can only be achieved by a deliberate action

And from Guide to application of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC §190 Preventing inadvertent operation of control devices:

The requirement set out in the sixth indent of section 1.2.2 aims to avoid inadvertent operation of control devices. Inadvertent operation can result from various causes, such as, for example, accidental contact between a part of the operator's body or of his or her clothing and a control device, unintentional operation of two adjacent control devices (for example, pushing two buttons or levers with one hand or two pedals with one foot), a control device being caught on an obstacle in the environment of the machinery or use of a control device as a hand hold for access to the operating position[.]

To me this all reads like ISO 9241, especially ISO 9241-210.


I can't comment on designing CE software for the Canadian Lumber Industry, but I can tell you a little bit about icons, buttons and localization (designing your UI to fit local norms).

Typically each country has a common set of symbols for certain tasks. In the US, the icon for "send mail" is an envelope, however, in the UK it is a british style post office box. What i'm getting at is your icon set needs to follow the established norms for your users. Existing software, government sites, and any localization research can help you with this. For corrosive materials? A good bet is probably whatever users of this system think is the symbol for corrosive materials, likely a government standard.

The same research applies to button design. What appears to be the convention for a "hold button" action? Are the keys/buttons labeled as such, with the word "(hold)" perhaps?

Some general resources might be helpful as well in the absence of other guidelines, an example.


Thats my best shot.

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