Many user interfaces for professional (production) systems are very complex. They place high demands on people’s cognitive abilities and are difficult to learn. The research project “LiTech” investigated and evaluated how bio-metaphors, e.g. trees or plants, can be used to visualize the current state of machines or machine factories in a simpler and more “human-friendly” way. Augmented/virtual reality technologies were applied to reduce complexity. End users were found to feel better informed about the status of machines when trees were used as metaphors, rather than traditional charts or symbols.

Augmented reality technologies are applicable in all areas where the complexity and/or the amount of information to be processed is too high for employees. The representation of measurement series, time series, production dashboards through bio-metaphors relieves employees and strengthens the identification with visualized processes.