Designing HMIs: For the big screen or a phone?

What should your first impulse be: Shall we create our operator screens for massive displays or with a smart phone in mind? Video: What does “mobility first” mean?

By Peter Welander October 28, 2015

Imagine this scenario: You’re George Lucas and you’ve been given the green light from the movie studio and a dump truck full of money to produce the next Star Wars feature. But as you’re leaving there is one final word from the suits: “George, we have a new idea. Smartphones are more popular than ever, so the movie is going to be released for viewing on smart phones before it goes to theaters. You have to conceive the whole look of the film to be viewable on a five-inch screen.”

Would you go see a movie, particularly one with the mind-boggling graphics of a Star Wars or James Bond feature, if it was designed for a tiny screen? The visual concepts would have to be totally different than shooting for a full-sized theatrical screen.

Companies designing HMI graphics have similar questions to answer. On one hand, operator consoles are moving to ever larger screens and 4K resolution for massive graphics with astonishing detail. On the other hand, they are also designing screens to for smart phones and tablets. Obviously the concepts of designing for one or the other are vastly different. Honeywell Process Solutions has identified itself as a mobility first company, but how will that be implemented?

In a video interview at Honeywell User Group 2015, Pieter Krynauw, vice president, HPS Projects and Automation Solutions, discusses what the thought process means, and what a company should think about as it considers adopting new HMI graphic approaches.

Honeywell Process Solutions 

Peter Welander is contributing content specialist, Control Engineering, CFE Media,

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– See links to additional videos about designing HMIs and related topics below.