The ISA101 HMI (human-machine interfaces) committee was formed to establish standards, recommended practices, and technical reports relating to HMIs in manufacturing and processing applications. The forthcoming standard and accompanying technical reports are intended to help users understand the basic concepts as a way to more readily accept the style of human-machine interface that the standard recommends. It is aimed at those responsible for designing, implementing, using, or managing HMI applications.
The standard defines the terminology and models to develop an HMI and the work processes recommended to effectively maintain it throughout its life cycle.
Use of the standard should:
- Provide guidance to design, build, operate, and maintain effective HMIs that result in safer, more effective, and more efficient control of a process, under all operating conditions.
- Improve the user’s abilities to detect, diagnose, and properly respond to abnormal situations.
If the standard, recommended practices, and methodology are followed, the result should enable the users to be more effective in yielding improved safety, quality, production, and reliability.
Wide scope, wide input
The scope of the committee was to include menu hierarchies, screen navigation conventions, graphics and color conventions, dynamic elements, alarming conventions, security methods and electronic signature attributes, interfaces with background programming and historical databases, pop-up conventions, help screens, and methods used to work with alarms, program object interfaces, and configuration interfaces to databases, servers, and networks.
Committee members include end users, integrators, and suppliers. At present, the committee is comprised of 230 members from many different industries and countries. Our members bring lessons learned from many years of designing, integrating, and using various HMI applications.
Over a series of initial face-to-face and virtual ISA101 meetings, several topics were identified, and appropriate clauses for the first draft were formed. Strong clause editors volunteered, and the draft began to take shape.
Presently, the draft standard is organized as follows:
- Clause 0: General
- Clause 1: Scope
- Clause 2: Normative References
- Clause 3: Definition of Terms and Acronyms
- Clause 4: HMI System Management
- Clause 5: Human Factors/Ergonomics
- Clause 6: Display Types
- Clause 7: User Interaction
- Clause 8: Performance
- Clause 9: Documentation and Training
As with all standards, establishing a common set of terminology and definitions was vital. You cannot have a standard until you all speak the same language. The ISA101 committee came up with an easy-to-understand diagram showing what was meant by terms, such as graphic, symbol, and so on. Having done that, progress lagged until a pivotal decision was made at a face-to-face meeting in Indianapolis, Ind.