Teknillinen tiedekunta, 2015
An overview of an automation system HMI platform design process is given, together with a sample of developed user interface design concepts and detailed designs. MicroSCADA Pro SYS600 is a network control and substation automation system by ABB Network Management. It is currently in its 3rd HMI generation and this thesis focuses on the development of the 4th generation HMI, based on web-technologies. Focus of the work is on the operator interface usability and user experience.
Literature study on usability and UX design was performed, together with an extensive user research on current users. This involved visits to various substation and control room environments in different domain areas, such as power generation, transmission and distribution, and infrastructure management. From the grounds of the insight gathered, primary design drivers for the platform were defined, those being clarity and glanceability, adaptivity and flexibility, and aesthetic design through minimalist but functional design. Also increased focus is put on enhancing capabilities for team-work, not only within the control room but extending to the field operations. However, from overall product point of view, good configurability and engineering efficiency are additionally taken as important design drivers. The new HMI is designed with the focus on mobile and touch-interfaces, to accommodate for various end user contexts, but efficient use of the product on workstation and wallscreen scenarios is not sacrificed either.
Development of a control system HMI is not only about product development, but more about platform development. MicroSCADA Pro is sold as a solution platform for system integrators to build on, and ABB cannot oversee the design of all system deployments. Therefore, this thesis work also delivers guidance and platform design principles that help enforcing system integrators conform to good design and style principles defined on the platform level. Also precursory design guideline is given.
Within the project, iterative human-centered design process, with heavy focus on prototyping, was followed. Best practices and observations from this process were gathered, including user interview methods, design work and prototype development, and concept validations. These are to be incorporated in the R&D processes for future work.
Design, Distribution Automation, Distribution Management System, DMS, HMI, SCADA, Smart Grid, Substation Automation, Usability, User Interface, UX