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Learn more about available workshops

User Centered Design Services, Inc. offers a full line of consulting services for evaluation of your current plant condition. We can make realistic and achievable recommendations for improvement and aid you in the implementation of these recommendations.

An integral part of this line is a set of workshops that provide an introduction to the basic principles and best practices related to our services. The workshops provide an excellent starting point for any site study, providing participants with the tools to make informed decisions throughout the project. The workshops are front-loaded activities and can produce significant cost savings through promoting awareness of best and worst practices.

We currently offer the following standard workshops:

Alarm Management

Alarms are a major challenge to the processing industry, you can’t function without them and you can’t function with them! Alarms are required to bring an operator’s attention to a pending consequence which could involve harm to people, damage to equipment, processing errors impacting production, quality and cost, and may impact the environment. Hence, the alarm is designed to prevent these consequences. For the alarm to work effectively it must have a known response from an operator, and the operator must have sufficient time to respond to the alarm mitigating the consequences that the alarm is preventing.

Unfortunately, alarms are generated by instruments that fail, which generates thousands of false alarms overloading the operators view to all the alarms, alarms often have a domino effect which floods the alarm summary and prevents operators from responding to urgent alarms.

The industry has developed five Key Performance indicators to help companies evaluate their alarm systems performance. The five categories are listed below, however, the EEMUA 191 document and the ISA 18 standard refer to these indicators in more detail with more solid data to help analyze your alarm systems performance.

  • Overloaded
  • Reactive
  • Stable
  • Robust
  • Predictive







Average Alarms






Max Alarms






Flood Periods






Ease of use

Difficult; Unusable in upset

Useful; Unusable in upset

Reliable; less useful in upset

Reliable at all times

Stable at all times

UCDS Inc Services to help customers move to Predictive Operation at a pace that is suitable to their needs, no matter where they are starting from on the KPI list.

For additional information, or to book a workshop, please contact us at:

Management of Organizational Change

Learn to manage extensive new regulations, recommendations, and requirements surrounding staffing levels, staffing arrangements, and job duties in a production facility, as well as overall Best Practices in Management of Organizational Change (MOOC).

UCDS will come to your site to conduct a three-day workshop to review Management of Organizational Change Best Practices with key personnel. This is an excellent tool for creating awareness within your organization, since many sites do not fully understand the potential impacts that changes in staffing levels, staffing arrangements, and job duties can have on an organization. Nor do they understand that current Best Practices and, in some regions, regulations, require a formal Management of Organizational Change process.

The workshop covers the following topics:

  • What is MOOC?
  • Industry regulations and best practices
  • What triggers an MOOC?
  • Who comprises an MOOC team?
  • UCDS MOOC methodology
  • Case studies from client facility

For additional information, or to book a workshop, contact us at

High Performance Graphics Workshop

Optimize your Human-Computer Interface, improve overall situation awareness, reduce operator workload, and help prevent minor deviations from becoming major incidents in this High Performance Graphics Workshop.

UCDS will come to your site to conduct a two-day workshop to review Human-Computer Interface (HMI) Best Practices with key personnel. This is an excellent tool for creating awareness within your organization about the methods that best-in-class facilities are employing to make dramatic improvements in their HMI performance.

The High Performance Graphics Workshop covers the following topics:

  • Industry standards and best practices, including EEMUA 201
  • What are High Performance Graphics?
  • What is a Style Guide?
  • 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
  • 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)
  • ISO 11064 part 5

For additional information, or to book a workshop, please contact us at:

Situation Awareness

The Situation Awareness Workshop focuses on improving situation awareness in the control room, thereby improving operator performance and reducing operator workload. Options, successes, and failures involved in addressing abnormal situations will be addressed. This is a true, front-loaded activity and can produce significant cost savings through awareness of best and worst practices, resulting in significant project savings as well.

UCDS, Inc. provides an overview of the key elements that impact control room operations and the humans in whom we have invested. This workshop incorporates the findings from the research of the Abnormal Situation Management Consortium® as it applies to operator situation awareness. The workshop will be tailored toward the specific decisions and challenges faced by the individual client, while approaching an improvement in operations, and will be an excellent starting point for discussions within the organization. Discussions regarding control room staffing and operator workload will also be facilitated.


Abnormal situation awareness encompasses a range of events outside the “normal” plant operating modes, e.g. trips, fires, explosions, toxic releases, or simply not reaching planned targets. Past incidents such as Piper Alpha, Milford Haven, Texas City and the 2003 northeast electrical blackout have all been attributed, at least in part, to a fundamental lack of good situational awareness. Early work of the Abnormal Situation Management Consortium® included a survey of the US petrochemical industry. Based on their research, the consortium estimates industry losses of around $20 billion per year from abnormal situations, approximately equal to the total annual profits of that industry. Furthermore, these studies indicate that companies achieving Best Practices in operations can improve productivity by 5-12 percent.

For additional information, or to book a workshop, please e-mail us at:

Related Download: The Operator As IPL

Control Room Design

Is it time to invest in your control room design and control buildings, but you’re not sure where to begin?

Many companies are moving to new, consolidated, centralized control room design, but this can be an expensive, multi-year commitment. One alternative may be to reuse the existing control rooms by undertaking extensive refitting. However, this will almost certainly lead to compromise, and the cost may be close to that of a new building. So, how do you decide the manner in which to proceed?

UCDS can help in the decision process by leveraging our experience, which incorporates our participation in over 100 control room projects across multiple industry sectors around the world.

Workshop Topics

Developing a shared vision by defining the needs and requirements of your organization...

  • What is management’s vision for the site?
  • Who’s in the building and who’s out?
  • What sort of facilities should be included?
  • What types of fatigue countermeasures should be used?
  • What rooms are required?
  • What should the room adjacencies be?
  • What do you do with your existing buildings?

Determining the best locations, number, and style of control room(s)...

  • Safety, environmental, security
  • Local or remote?
  • Single central control room or multiple remote control rooms?
  • Functional layout or theater layout?
  • Within the battery limits or outside?

Reviewing your current practices and how they will be impacted by a new facility...

  • Expectations of operators
  • Organization and culture
  • Impact on existing management systems (procedures, training…)

Identifying areas to improve the operator’s ability to detect, diagnose, and respond to an abnormal situation...

  • Impact and potential re-use of existing console furniture
  • Ergonomics
  • HVAC
  • Lighting
  • Acoustics
  • Noise control
  • Traffic flow

For additional information, or to schedule a workshop, please contact us at

We are also pleased to provide customized workshops based on any specific client requirements.

Schedule Consultation

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