WorldWide Drilling Resource

39 AUGUST 2022 WorldWide Drilling Resource® Be Understood by Britt Storkson Owner, P2FlowLLC Often in person-on-person relationships, when one is speaking to another there is not 100% comprehension by either party. It’s normal for misunderstandings to occur, but they are not desirable and sometimes can be detrimental. This is why one company I worked for directed us, when using the two-way radios (walkie-talkies) they provided, repeat once what we said when attempting to communicate. We were also encouraged to use (what goes by many names but three of them are) the NATO phonetic alphabet or Marine alphabet or Alpha Bravo Charlie, which uses a standardized word associated with each letter of the alphabet used for the purpose of being clearly understood. This is important and could, on rare occasions, mean the difference between safety or injury and death. I have worked at The Home Depot for nearly ten years and noticed the cardboard boxes they store and organize the items they sell almost always have the stock number, a written description of the part, and a picture of the part printed on them. Sometimes they are also color-coded to identify unique classes of parts. For example with pipe parts, the elbows are one color and the tees are another color. Why do they do that? It’s to speed up the shelf-stocking process because the employee doesn’t have to spend time trying to figure out what the part is and where it goes on the shelf. This is not because the employee is dumb; it’s a simple technique to make shelf-stocking easier and faster. Shelf-stocking is a time-consuming task which cannot be automated, so anything that makes the process easier saves time and money. This approach has measurable benefits. If one can save even ten seconds per box when it comes to handling thousands of boxes coming through a store, it may be one or two less employees needed to hire to get the job done. Also from the employers’ standpoint: You are paying for the employees’ time to learn, as well as to work. So with a smaller learning curve, the employees can accomplish more in the way of work. With the computer control units we build, we spend considerable time and effort making the control functions easily understood. One way to do this is by not giving the user too much information. Again, this is not because the user is dumb or otherwise not very intelligent. Most people would rather use their brain capacity for other things besides learning about computer controls, and we respect that. We typically present very basic adjustments on the display main menu, and if the user wants or needs to access more detailed information, we have a separate location where these can be viewed and manipulated. While most users will never see these control unit functions, they aren’t a “secret.” We simply omit them for clarity. Another way to increase understanding is to provide feedback to the user. We do this by providing tactile, as well as a visual indicator to tell the user the control unit is responding to the user inputs. Tactile means touch. The switches we use “click” when pressed to verify the input has been received. We also provide visual feedback using changes on the display to confirm the input. Labels or numbers change to tell the user the computer has received and is acting upon the command. We have debated using an audible confirmation such as a “beep” as well, but decided two feedback sources confirming an input was enough. With all of the confusion and chaos going on around this world right now, we don’t need our computers making our lives more difficult. Strive to be understood. The importance of clarity in conversation cannot be understated. Britt Britt Storkson may be contacted via e-mail to michele@