Mochuan Drives - Professional design, manufacturer HMI Touch Screen Panel & PLC Controller, provide industry solutions and system integration since 2009.

  • Professional design, manufacturer HMI Touch Screen Panel & PLC Controller, provide industry solutions and system integration since 2009.


Designing User-Friendly HMI Touch Screen Interfaces for PLCs


Designing User-Friendly HMI Touch Screen Interfaces for PLCs


In the ever-evolving field of industrial automation, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) play a vital role in controlling and monitoring various processes. To enhance the user experience and improve efficiency, Human-Machine Interface (HMI) touch screen interfaces have gained significant popularity. This article delves into the key considerations and best practices for designing user-friendly HMI touch screen interfaces for PLCs.

Understanding the User

1. Analyzing User Requirements

Before embarking on the design process, it is crucial to understand the users' requirements, tasks, and expectations. Conducting user interviews, workshops, and task analysis can provide valuable insights into their needs and preferences.

2. Creating User Personas and User Stories

Developing user personas helps designers empathize with different user profiles, enabling them to tailor the interface accordingly. User stories provide a realistic narrative of user interactions, guiding the design process and adding clarity to specific features and functionalities.

Design Principles for User-Friendly HMI Touch Screen Interfaces

1. Simplicity and Intuitiveness

Keeping the interface simple and intuitive is paramount. Users should be able to navigate through the system effortlessly, with minimal training. Employing familiar icons, logical grouping, and consistent layouts can significantly enhance usability.

2. Responsive and Ergonomic Design

In industrial settings, operators often wear gloves, which can hinder accurate touch interactions. Designing touch targets that are large and well-spaced enhances usability for users wearing gloves, ensuring precise inputs. Additionally, considering ergonomics by placing frequently accessed controls within easy reach minimizes strain and fatigue.

3. Visual Hierarchy and Clear Feedback

Visual hierarchy helps users immediately perceive important information. Prioritize essential elements and organize them spatially to guide user attention. Utilizing color, size, and contrast judiciously aids in establishing an effective visual hierarchy. Providing clear and immediate visual feedback on touch interactions ensures users are aware of the system's response, preventing confusion and errors.

4. Error Prevention and Recovery

Designing an interface that proactively prevents errors and enables easy recovery is crucial. Implementing input validation and context-aware error messages can help users avoid mistakes. Additionally, incorporating undo functionalities and confirmation prompts allows users to rectify errors quickly without disrupting the workflow.

5. Contextual Help and Documentation

Even with a well-designed interface, users may encounter unfamiliar tasks or scenarios. Providing context-based help and documentation, such as tooltips, explanatory overlays, or embedded user manuals, enables users to find relevant information promptly. This empowers users to troubleshoot minor issues independently, minimizing downtime.

Design and Layout Considerations

1. Information Organization and Clarity

Effectively organizing information on the screen promotes ease of use. Group related functions logically and ensure clear and concise labeling. Categorize controls based on their purpose and frequency of use, as this significantly improves efficiency.

2. Consistent Navigation and Terminology

Maintaining consistency across different screens and sections of the HMI interface fosters familiarity and reduces cognitive load. Using consistent terminology for buttons, labels, and prompts throughout the system ensures clarity and prevents confusion.

3. Prioritizing Critical Information

Identifying critical information and ensuring it is prominently displayed allows users to quickly ascertain the system's status. Real-time data, alarms, and alerts should be easily visible to enable operators to respond promptly to changing conditions.

4. Customization and Adaptability

Allowing users to customize the interface to their unique requirements can greatly improve usability and efficiency. Offering options to adjust font sizes, color schemes, or screen layouts empowers users to personalize their experience, enhancing overall satisfaction.

Usability Testing and Iterative Design

Usability testing plays a crucial role in refining and validating interface designs. Conducting usability tests with representative users allows designers to uncover potential issues and gather valuable feedback. Iteratively refining designs based on this feedback leads to incremental improvements, resulting in an interface that prioritizes user needs.


Creating user-friendly HMI touch screen interfaces for PLCs requires careful consideration of user requirements, intuitive design principles, and structured organization of information. By adhering to principles such as simplicity, responsiveness, and clear feedback, designers can ensure that operators can effortlessly control and monitor industrial processes. Moreover, enabling customization and adapting to user preferences enhances their overall experience. With usability testing and iterative design, designers can continuously refine and optimize the interface, ensuring it remains user-centric and fosters productivity in industrial environments.


Since 2009, Mochuan Drives provides professional HMI Human Machine Interface, PLC controller and switching power supply. Contact us for more details.
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