Proper HMI Graphics Should Look BORING!

The Difference Between Poor HMI Graphics and High-Performance Ones

By Nancy Bartels

Poor graphics have:

  • Big flashing animated flames
  • Brightly colored 3D process vessels
  • Spinning agitators/pumps and moving conveyors
  • Highly detailed equipment
  • Attempts to color code piping with contents
  • Big bright measurement unit callouts
  • Bright color liquid levels displayed the full width of the vessel
  • No trends
  • An exact representation of the P&ID
  • Lots of lines that cross
  • Inconsistent process flow direction
  • Misuse of alarm-related colors
  • Limited, haphazard navigation
  • Inconsistent color coding

High-performance graphics have:

  • Gray backgrounds to minimize glare
  • No animation
  • Black process lines
  • Limited use of color
  • Process flow from left to right; gas should flow up and liquids flow down
  • Proper layout to avoid unnecessarily crossing lines
  • Embedded trends of important parameters
  • Low-contrast depictions in 2D
  • A layout consistent with the operator's mental model of the process
  • Logical and consistent navigation methods
  • Display access with a maximum of three operator mouse clicks or keystrokes
  • Techniques to minimize data entry mistakes
  • Validation and security measures
  • Measurement units shown in low-contrast lettering