Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Results Driven Approach to improving overall HMI design

In the last couple of blog posts we looked at the trends that currently drive the need of the modern industrial HMI application and the impact of human error. This article provides a results driven approach to improving overall HMI design based on a recent John Krajewsky’s white paper: “Situational Awareness, The Next Leap in Industrial Human Machine Interface Design”.

“The cornerstone of improving the overall HMI design is to deliver Situational Awareness (SA). Only by achieving the proper Situational Awareness can the operations team make effective decisions that will deliver overall business success.”  In Figure the figure below situational awareness has been broken into 3 Levels; perception, comprehension, and projection.
“Most HMI applications only assist the operations teams in achieving the first Level; perception4. HMI applications far too often will only place a numerical value representing a current transmitter signal on the screen in a location that will orient the origin of the signal to the operator. How the operator processes
this information will vary greatly based on the experience Level. The HMI can provide information that will facilitate attaining the second Level of situational awareness; comprehension. In addition to the current value of the transmitter signal the HMI can provide the operator with a clear indication of the expected value from the transmitter. Typically the difference between the experience operators and the  inexperienced operators is that the experienced operators have memorized the system parameters and have familiarized themselves with the expected values. By providing this information up front it is possible to empower an inexperienced operator to behave more like an experienced operator. But in most cases even the most experienced operators will inconsistently achieve the highest level of situational awareness; projection. In order to reach projection the system must facilitate determining if an action is required and the consequence of that action or inaction. The good news is that there are tools and techniques available to improve the operations outcomes through
  • goal oriented design,
  • effective window structure,
  • effective color usage,
  • actionable alarm management, and
  • effective design elements.”

Source: Krajewski, John (“Situational Awareness The Next Leap in Industrial Human Machine Interface Design”
In the next few posts I will provide a detail view at each one of the tools and techniques available to improve the operations outcomes mentioned above.
How are you approaching the HMI design at you facility? Let me know in the Comments section below

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