Camouflage – Why Some New HMI "Improvements" Are a Step Backwards

Process Control HMI improvement continues to be a hot topic. Since PAS wrote The High Performance HMI Handbook in 2009 and the ISA-101 HMI standard was issued in 2015, many companies have revised their HMI practices, many case studies have been published, and many presentations have been given at technical conferences. Many people now “claim” to be experts in HMI design. The reality is very different.
Unfortunately, we continue to see graphics that are low-visibility, low-contrast, gray-on-gray images with random and confusing arrangement of screen items versus clean and clear. As a result, it is almost as if the important items on the screen are camouflaged. Such poor designs are easily found on the web, in magazine articles, in vendor promotional materials, and in completed designs.
In a talk I gave last Spring at PAS OptICS, I show examples of such practices, explain exactly why they are bad, and contrast them to crisp and legible graphics that provide operators with a clear understanding of process conditions. You can check out that video here ≫
Meet Me on the Road
I always look forward to connecting with people about managing operational risk. Please contact me if you’ll be in the area and would like to meet up. Here is where I will be in the upcoming months:
April 9-10, 2019: ISA Calgary. I invite you to one of my three sessions, in which I’ll be discussing high-performance HMI as well as other operational risk management topics.
May 2019: 3-week European speaking tour, dealing with all the process control topics that make up Operations Risk Management. I’ll be at the Swedish Safety Association on May 16. Other stops include Belgium, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, and the United Kingdom.

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