Best HMI graphical design practices - opinions?

I would like to hear other’s opinions on what would be considered best or most efficient graphical design practices for HMI screens? Basically, what does one think of the HMI Optimatization method (my preference - clean and minimalist) vs using more animations and colors?

I’ve been developing in Ignition (first time in SCADA) for just over a year now and personally after seeing the examples set by Inductive Automation on the HMI Optimization method by producing clean lines and minimal distractions (less is more), I really liked that method best. I also liked how colors and animations were reduced. Instead of making the screen look like a disco party, only making something stand out when it needs attention. I also like using a gray shade for the page backgrounds all across (which seems to be common in most methods anyways).

I tend to lean towards designing things so only alerts have colors (orange or red) and don’t like using the color “green” for normal running states just to say it’s good, but only show a color when it’s in abnormal state. As far as graphics for equipment, I don’t mind using a more modern symbol for something for example like a tank, but make sure the gradients when used don’t have high contrast or anything that would stick out too much. In those cases, I mute and slightly blend the colors some more if needed (usually in shades of gray, nothing too dark or too light.

I also follow other methods such as consistency, sizing and orientations as well, but was more curious on what other here think of the graphical side of things.

The principles in The High Performance HMI Handbook are a good place to start. Also of note are The Alarm Management Handbook and Effective Console Operator HMI Design. Customers or end users will request deviations from these practices which will ultimately guide many of your choices. There are some good studies on methods to present abstract data in meaningful ways to enable efficiency and also improve safety. I’ll update later with some of those. Searching for “Ecological Interface Design (EID)” will give some good leads as well.

This one I reference as an example:
Ham D.H., Yoon W.C., Han B.T, Experimental study on the effects of visualized functionally abstracted information on process control tasks. Reliability Engineering and System Safety 93 (2008) p. 254-270.

K. J. Vicente, K. Christoffersen and A. Pereklita, “Supporting operator problem solving through ecological interface design,” in IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics , vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 529-545, April 1995, doi: 10.1109/21.370186.

Also of note:
Rasmussen, Jens, and Kim J. Vicente. “Coping with human errors through system design: implications for ecological interface design.” International Journal of Man-Machine Studies 31.5 (1989): 517-534.

Wittenberg, Carsten. “A pictorial human–computer interface concept for supervisory control.” Control Engineering Practice 12.7 (2004): 865-878.

Lin, Yingzi, W. J. Zhang, and L. Glen Watson. “Using eye movement parameters for evaluating human–machine interface frameworks under normal control operation and fault detection situations.” International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 59.6 (2003): 837-873.

Lin, Yingzi, and W. J. Zhang. “Towards a novel interface design framework: function–behavior–state paradigm.” International journal of human-computer studies 61.3 (2004): 259-297.

Janzen, Michael E., and Kim J. Vicente. “Attention allocation within the abstraction hierarchy.” International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 48.4 (1998): 521-545.

Burns, Catherine M., et al. “Evaluation of ecological interface design for nuclear process control: situation awareness effects.” Human factors 50.4 (2008): 663-679.

N. Lau, G. A. Jamieson, G. Skraaning and C. M. Burns, “Ecological Interface Design in the Nuclear Domain: An Empirical Evaluation of Ecological Displays for the Secondary Subsystems of a Boiling Water Reactor Plant Simulator,” in IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science , vol. 55, no. 6, pp. 3597-3610, Dec. 2008, doi: 10.1109/TNS.2008.2005725.

Howie, Dianne E., and Kim J. Vicente. “Measures of operator performance in complex, dynamic microworlds: Advancing the state of the art.” Ergonomics 41.4 (1998): 485-500.

Letsu-Dake, Emmanuel, and Celestine A. Ntuen. “A case study of experimental evaluation of adaptive interfaces.” International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 40.1 (2010): 34-40.

Christoffersen, Klaus, Christopher N. Hunter, and Kim J. Vicente. “A longitudinal study of the effects of ecological interface design on deep knowledge.” International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 48.6 (1998): 729-762.