This article appeared first in BioNews, Eppendorf’s customer magazine since 1993.
Centrifugation – more than just “spinning” You are most likely familiar with this – or similar – situations in the lab: in the course of a series of experiments, many tasks are carried out in parallel, and one challenge is that laboratory equipment such as multipurpose centrifuges must be shared with other colleagues. As a result, the rotor, buckets, or adapters may have to be exchanged and new run parameters set for one’s own vessel types.
Stressful situations as well as inexperience may open the door for inadvertent mistakes when it comes to correctly selecting rpm or rcf, adjusting braking ramps or employing the “at set rpm” function. Errors of this kind often result in the need for repeating the run, and in the worst case, the sample may be lost.
Development focused on the user During the development of the user interface of the Centrifuge 5910 Ri, attention was paid to extremely simple operation, which has been tested by multiple customer tests. In a final customer test, we also determined the user-friendliness by means of the System Usability Scale (SUS): the final score of 93 is significantly higher than the average SUS score of 68 (https://measuringu.com/sus).
Everyday use is thus as simple as it can be. On the Home screen, the user finds several options to operate the instrument: the unique favorites function, as well as the program function and a user management are the most important ones.
Using the favorites, the four most frequently-used values for the parameters time, speed, and temperature can be saved and selected with a click. A change of the parameters is thus completed within three clicks, which greatly reduces the risk of error.
The program function offers an even faster usage: to create a program, the desired parameters, including settings for braking ramps and “at set rpm”, are selected and saved under the desired program name, for example: “Pelleting of E. coli”. By calling up the program, parameter setting is done in seconds, inadvertent errors are excluded, and good reproducibility of the results is given. Even users who have never worked with the instrument before will be able to operate the interface immediately and intuitively.