Human Factors Topic: GRAPHICS

What is the impact of graphics on performance?Graphics

Operators need the right information, at the right time, in the right format to have the best chance to prevent and/or respond to process upsets.

The COP began research in 2008 when projects on color and simulator use were undertaken and began a trend of using University faculty for projects.




  • How dense should graphic displays be? How should it be measured? What if the alternative is to split the information over multiple screens?
  • How realistic do graphic symbols need to be?
  • Can the “goodness” of graphics be quantified?
  • When should trend data be used over digital values?
  • How do windows and screen size impact display design?
  • What are the alternatives/differences in information needs for batch, continuous, machine control?
  • Can information be presented in a proven, better manner (e.g., advance control information, tower profiles, overfill)?
  • How should information be split over multiple screens?
  • When does the DCS design interfere with performance (e.g, missing touch targets, entering wrong setpoints)?
  • When does information overload occur?

Do you have a question or hot button issue that isn’t on our list?
We’d like to hear from you so send us an email with your concerns and suggestions.


  • Review the Completed Projects and Current Work of the Center on ways to enhance operator performance. Members can access project reports in the Members-Only Section.
  • You might have HMI design backward Did you know background color is the least important element?
    Author: Dave Strobhar
    Publication: Control Design, July 13, 2015, Access: Online Article
  • Collaboration Picks up Speed Industry and academia pull together harder
    Author: Seán Ottewell
    Publication: Chemical Processing, May 2010, Access Article
  • Simple, Strong and Easy-to-Use
    User-Centered Design Makes Operators More Aware of Their Processes and Better Able to Respond Fast.
    Author: Jim Montague
    Publication:, March 2010, Access Article
  • DCS Console Operator Issues in Related Industries
    2011 TAPPI PEERS Conference, Portland OR, Oct 2-5 2011
    Presentation by David A Strobhar, PE
    Access Presentation (1.7MB PDF), Paper (20KB PDF)