Human Computer Interface

We have a expertise in the following HMI standards, regulations, and best practices:

  • ASM Consortium Effective Human Machine Interface Guidelines (guideline)
  • ISA 101 – Human Machine Interfaces for Process Automation Systems (future standard)
  • API 1165 – Recommended Practice for Pipeline SCADA Displays (recommended practice)
  • NUREG 700 – Human-System Interface Design Review Guidelines (guideline)
  • EEMUA 201 – Process plant control desks utilizing human-computer interfaces: a guide to design, operational and human-computer interface issues (guideline)

Check out the new book: Click Here.

UCDS offers a full line of consulting services to evaluate your current plant condition, make realistic and achievable recommendations for improvement and aid you in implementing our recommendations. An integral part of this line is a set of human-computer interface (HCI) services providing guidance on industry standards and best practice. These services can be used to:

Assess the current state of your site’s human-computer interface, benchmarking it versus ASM® recommendations and industry Best Practices.

Perform Workshops to educate facilities on Best Practices in Human-Computer Interface design

Develop a detailed Human-Computer Interface Style Guide covering all aspects of Best Practices in situational awareness and cognitive processing, including delivering Training to your facility on proper implementation

A poorly implemented interface adds to workload, increases frustration, stress, and confusion, and can ultimately impact safety, reliability, production, and profitability. A properly implemented human-computer interface can reduce operator work load, improve situational awareness, and aid the operator in preventing minor deviations from becoming major incidents.

A properly implemented Human-Computer interface will also work hand in hand with Alarm Management initiatives. Better presentation of information to the operator improves overall situation awareness. This helps offset the perception operators frequently have that elimination of alarms from the DCS will reduce their ability track the status of the plant.

Recent research has identified that well implemented human-computer interface can improve operator performance in problem detection and resolution by as much as 25%. This reduces the amount of time the plant is running at less than optimal efficiency, thus improving the bottom line. This also reduces operator stress and improves employee relationships.

The Human-Computer Interface Assessment and human-computer interface style guide provide a rational and structured basis for ensuring all areas of importance relating to the human-computer interface are successfully addressed.

Based on this we offer the following services:

  • Human Computer Interface Gap Analysis
  • High Performance Graphics Workshop
  • Style Guide
  • Migration Strategy


Migration Strategy

Most companies have a large investment in old technology, and traditional interfaces. Making a dramatic change is often very expensive, time consuming, and only a major change in technology allows the site to upgrade the current displays.

Service Description

To assist clients in making more cost effective changes outside the traditional DCS upgrade project, we offer a migration strategy service. This migration strategy sets a path forward that allows implementation of best practices, over time, within normal system maintenance budgets.

For additional information or to book this service please E-mail us at:

Style Guide


Does the following seem familiar?

  • Your operators claim they need 10 screens to operate the plant
  • Your graphics look cluttered
  • Your graphics are more colorful than a carnival
  • During an abnormal situation are your operators rapidly jumping between screens searching for the information they need
  • Your graphics developed page-for-page from the P&ID’s
  • Your graphics do not incorporate the latest research into cognitive processing

Do you realize a poor human-computer interface can actually prevent your operators from responding to abnormal situations properly, costing you lost production, equipment damage, and possible injuries?

A Style Guide is a document that specifies the parameters for the HCI. It covers items which govern the look and feel of the user displays such as:

  • Navigation
  • Display Hierarchy
  • Use of Colors
  • Window Management and Number of Screens
  • Integration of Trend and Alarm Information
  • Integration of Other information
  • Identification of Specific Display Objects
  • Intra-Display Communication and Coordination

Overview Display Design

It works in conjunction with the Object Library to develop control system displays.

The Object Library is a combination of written documents and computer code that define the actual symbols, or objects, used on the displays. The Object Library is typically purchased from the control system vendor, or it can be commissioned from a system implementer.

Service Description

We will develop a comprehensive Human-Computer Interface Style Guide customized for use at your site. This Style Guide document will be tailored for use at the site to set policy around future implementation, use, and maintenance of the HCI system.

This service begins with a three day site visit to interview stakeholders in the HCI system. UCDS will then generate a draft Style Guide document for Client review.

UCDS will then put on a two day workshop at your site to educate key personnel on the content and proper implementation of the Style Guide.

This is a good paper on alarm management and HMI design, a reminder that nuisance alarms are a symptom of a bigger problem

For additional information or to book this service please E-mail us at:

We are also happy to provide customized services based on any specific client requirements.