Turning the device on is the first plateau of achievement. The design of the power-on experience should provide the following information:
Goal: Immediately verify that setup was done correctly and that everything is working properly.
Design obvious, easy, and safe power controls.
Turning the power on should be both obvious and easy. Avoid designs in which the power control can be accidentally activated. Guard against such events by placing them in recessed areas or providing a retractable cover.
Provide clear specific visual indications that the power is on.
Always provide a clear indication that the power is on, by providing a power on LED for example, but avoid overuse of LEDs. When it is important in helping users accomplish their tasks, provide green LEDs to indicate that a component is operating normally. Use yellow LEDs to indicate non-normal operation. Avoid the use of bi-color LEDs. Data for the male population alone indicates approximately an 8% occurrence of red-green color blindness. It can be very difficult for color blind users to distinguish between reds, oranges, yellows, and greens. The use of separate LEDs allows the user to rely on position as a visual cue.
In general, LEDs should be visible from at least 4 feet away in ambient lighting conditions and within a viewing angle of 120°. Do not require that users stand or sit immediately in front of visual indicators such as LEDs in order to see them.
Space visual indicators such as LEDs sufficiently apart so the individual indicators can be easily distinguished at typical viewing distances. For example, spacing on a printer might need to be greater than for a display if the user is likely to position the printer several feet from the work area.
Avoid requiring the user to power-on components in sequence.
If multiple components must be turned on separately the order in which they are turned on should not affect the power-on result. If power sequencing is necessary the equipment should do it automatically. Do not rely on users to power on components in a specific sequence.
Provide feedback on the status of setup as soon as possible.
The first power-on experience should provide immediate feedback that the setup was done successfully. If immediate feedback cannot be provided the setup instructions should tell the user what to expect and how long it might take, and they should suggest what to look for as initial indications of a successful setup or potential problems.
Provide status indication for ongoing processes.
Assure the user as soon as possible that everything is proceeding normally. As soon as a component can communicate to the user, it should indicate the status of setup. If the status of setup is not yet available, a progress indicator should be displayed along with a message indicating that setup status is being determined. For example, display a bar graph of time, a running clock, or something similar to indicate that progress is being made.
Suggest something for the user to do during any long delay. For example, information and marketing messages might be displayed while the first power-on is happening. A Thank You message or slides reminding the user of the product's features and capabilities might be displayed. The user should be able to control the display of this information so they can turn it off after they have seen it a few times.
Avoid the use of beeps in normal operations and minimize use in general.
Use beeps only for problem situations in which no other medium of communication with the user is available. If beeps must be used, the user should be forewarned in the Setup instructions and the beeps should be explained in the In Case of Difficulty or Troubleshooting section of the Setup instructions. The user should be able to turn off beeps that are associated with visible messages. These beeps may be helpful for users who don't watch or can't see a display screen, but they can be irritating and confusing for others. Don't rely on audible signals. The user might not be within hearing range or the product might be installed in a noisy environment.
Provide confirmation of previously completed setup steps.
If a component was tested at the factory and some indication of successful completion was generated, include some confirmation for the user. For example, a test print page for a printer should be included with a printer. Knowing that it worked at some point may help the user recognize the source of a setup problem.