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Development of a Graphical User Interface for Beamline Control

Christina A. Vasilakis
Electronic Visualization Laboratory, m/c 154
University of Illinois at Chicago
851 S. Morgan, Room 1120
Chicago, IL 60607-7053
(312) 996-3002

Mary Westbrook, Ed Westbrook
Argonne National Laboratory
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, IL 60439


This paper describes the initial design iterations for the development of a graphical user interface that controls structural biology experiments performed using a synchrotron beamline. The development of the interface is expected to increase the speed and efficiency of using such specialized equipment. Since there are not any known precedents of a graphical interface to control beamline experiments and there is a great worldwide need for such an interface, the interface, if successful will represent a standard for future implementations of similar control system interfaces at numerous beamline facilities. While the interface is not complete, the paper explores the design methods used up to the present, to produce this promising version of the interface.

The composition of the user population posed a challenge to designing this interface in that it was composed of two distinct groups, one novice group and the other, an expert user group. Ultimately, the solution to addressing such a diverse group came from the users and the way that they describe their tasks while at a beamline. The task model derived from the users' descriptions drove the current design of the interface.

Christina Vasilakis
Tue Jul 16 14:05:54 CDT 1996