Resource guide: Awareness and ergonomics

March 26, 2018
Control's monthly guide brings you invaluable industry information to stay up to date on the latest trends and developments.

User-centered gurus

Ian Nimmo and his colleagues at User Centered Design Services Inc. have a wealth of resources at their website, including many articles and white papers about control room design and related topics. The site also has information on design, assessment, strategy and consulting services covering alarm management, security, HMI design, best practices, international standards, gap analysis, operator training and organizational change management.

User Centered Design Services

Ergonomic considerations

The eight-page guide, "Top considerations when designing an ergonomic control room," covers the basic issues that users must face when seeking to implement an improved control room, such as definitions, room architecture, furniture, console advantages, environment, operator requirements and others. It's located here


Procedures for operations

This four-page technical report, "Control room design for efficient plant operations," describes the experience and principles that Yokogawa has used to design and build more than 500 control rooms over 30 years. It details the human-centered design approach, and show the company's procedures for control room design, including define, measure, analyze, control and improve. It's located here

Yokogawa Electric Co.

Two effectiveness videos

These two short, 2-1/2-minute videos, "Maximizing operator effectiveness in the control room" and "The control room transformation," are presented by Pierre Scharing, managing director of CGM. They demonstrate many of the improvements possible with newer control room designs. They're located here and here

ABB Control Systems

Control room of the future

Our cover story, "Smarter Reality," by Jim Montague, Control executive editor, details efforts to design and develop control rooms that keep operators aware, efficient, comfortable and healthy. For example, Kevin Dahm, principal engineer at DTE Energy, demonstrates an immersive but very low-tech way to try different control room designs. It's located here.


Graduate-level overview

A 30-page paper, "Human factors in design of control rooms for process industries," by Ravi Joshi and Ben Daum, students at the Purdue University College of Engineering, provides a comprehensive summary of the historical problems with many existing control rooms, and covers design principles, field communications, alarm conditions and more. It's located here.

Purdue College of Engineering

Three-part process

ABB's "Control room design" webpage takes visitors through a three-part process to help them design and implement control rooms that will improve operator alertness, drive efficiency, promote collaboration and teamwork, and cut total costs. It's located here.


Human factors guide

This 75-page white paper, "Best practice human factors guidance for control room/HMI design," by the Highways Consultancy Group–Highways Research Group, covers human factors in designing control rooms and HMIs, and includes 11 steps for doing it. It's located here.

Highways England

Looking good design

The feature article, "What does good control room design look like?" by Mary Ann Lane and Peggy Hewitt of BAW Architecture, lays out the ISO 11064 standard for ergonomics, and shows how to design "from the operator out." It's located here


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