Security Alert

The security alert occurs in two parts. The first is a paddock alert that starts on a single terminal but gets copied to the big shared screen. The second is a security monitor for the visitor center in which the control room sits.  Both of these live as part of the larger Jurassic Park.exe, alongside the Explorer Status panel, and take the place of the tour map on the screen automatically.

Paddock Monitor

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After Nedry disables security, the central system fires an alert as each of the perimeter fence systems go down.  Each section of the fence blinks red, with a large “UNARMED” on top of the section.  After blinking, the fence line disappears. To the right is the screen for monitoring vehicles.

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As soon as the system starts detecting the disabled fences, it starts projecting the fence security diagram onto the main screen at the front of the Control Room for everyone to see, but with a status bar on the right reading “SECURITY, PADDOCKS, TRACKING, and VIDEO.”

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Visitor Center

The system has a second screen showing security measures in the visitor center itself.  It focuses on the security doors between public and private areas (dining, halls, the genetics lab, and the cryostorage).

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In both cases, these security screens appear on the same computer showing the vehicle status.  It replaces the island map.  This isn’t a separate program, but is instead a replacement window, as shown by the identical data in the columns to the left and right of the map view.

Don’t Break Existing Mental Models

Throughout the security panels, there isn’t any consistency in color labeling.  On the fences, red is good.  On visitor center map, red is bad.  On the glitches panel, red means that it should be looked at, but might not be bad.

First, accessibility standards say that color shouldn’t be the only indicator of status.  Thankfully for this interface and its inconsistency, it at least has labeling. But that means that an operator needs to either memorize the entire panel before they can be proficient at it, or read each label every time.

Second, color standardization could be done with a little more creative background colors.  Picking more neutral backgrounds—for example, the island on the fence map doesn’t need to be bright green, and could either be desaturated or a basic light grey—would allow the status colors to show up better and have more readable text.

Third, while the status indicators are labeled, the labels are written in system language instead of user language.  “Clear” and “Check” can be understood with some work, but aren’t natural status labels in day-to-day society.

Keep Indicators

When the fences deactivate, they disappear off the screen.  While this does show that they’re disabled, it removes the control room crew’s ability to quickly see what they can fix and where it is.  Unless a room full of experts is looking at the screen, they won’t know where the T-Rex fence is and where to send work crews.  Keeping the fences on the screen in a ‘disabled’ or ‘broken’ state would indicate the same information, while still providing direction.

The visitor center screen almost gets this right by changing the color, changing the label, and showing the door as open on the panel.  Practically, this is what’s happening (the ‘Raptors can get through any door they want), but realistically some of those doors are actually closed.

In the case of the doors, it would make more sense to have the status change, but only have the door open if the system actually detects a door opening in the building.

Show the ’Raptors

This is the most critical screen in the park during an emergency, but it isn’t showing a critical status: The Velociraptor Pen.

Arnold has to roll over to the command console computer and type in a manual status request to learn that the raptor pen fences are still active.  Given how important this status is to everyone in the park, it should be on the main map in some form or another.

Additionally, the system could show the status of secondary systems in a side pane:

  • Tour status
  • Camera feeds
  • Where dinosaurs are
  • What secondary equipment status is

When things start to go wrong on the island, this interface should provide guidance to the control room crew on what they need to do and what they need to fix (even if, in this case, the answer is “Everything”).

Organizing information, mapping status across screens, and providing lists of what needs to be fixed would give an understandable checklist to the park staff on what they should be doing.

3 thoughts on “Security Alert

  1. The raptor status is important, but it should be noted that they were in a holding enclosure and not their normal paddock, which might explain why it’s not on the main screen.

    • That may have been why they said “Pen” instead of “Paddock”, but I missed that context during the movie. In that case, there was probably a series of holding pens that also lost power, which wasn’t indicated anywhere.

      • I don’t recall if it was ever explicitly mentioned in the film either, I know it was in the book though. If I recall correctly, The full raptor paddock is shown on the tour map props used in the film and in a few other hard to spot places. Another clue is that the nest Grant and the kids find in the park is an abandoned raptor nest, judging by the two toed footprints.

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