The specification is king however by the time the working spec is produced the contract spec., based on an outline from which little detail can be determined, has already been set in concrete - with real extras or real deletions each being warded an extra cost (just a lower extra cost when it is otherwise to the yard's benefit. I exaggerate I know). If the detail is important to the end user the place for that detail is in the Outline. It is the outline upon which the yards bid and therefore it is where their pencils are sharper. Extra's will be at the market rate and credits will be in full they never are once the contract is signed.
As for the GUI MM interface I have some sympathy with both camps. When criticising a cargo handling simulator that was entirely computer based (whereas ours was included a full CCR console mock up that was driven by the computer) it was pointed out that cargo handling was already controlled from the GUI and keyboard. That was then not very true (we were in competition) but it is now. How will the candidate who has been brought up on GUI and mouse interact with a console and 'proper' knobs and switches?
The processor (often without the redundancy inherent with, say an Autronica KM series discrete system or even Sunderland Forge, do it yourself alarm system), the simple VDU and then the full monty (GUI, Mice rollerballs etc.) were all introduced because it was cheaper (not to the owner who might well have thought he was buying into to tomorrow's better world) but to the builder. Innovation stopped there (for instance when graphics were introduced we had screen showing 'systems' but when a parameter was common to several 'systems', for instance Sea water temperature/pressure, that might be on a different seawater system screen). I am sure we have moved on and better after several years of the developers having input from knowledgeable users (do they?).
A console and mimic provided all the parameters and annunciators in one large 'package'. The information was there if not always immediately dragged to then operator attention.
The computer would have allowed us to present an alarm along with all the parameters implicated in a precise 'focus' on the event. We did not, perhaps we do now. Even more into the proceduralised age why is there not a screen available/inescapable presenting the operational procedures/CE's instructions also linked to the annunciation?