Design Pattern: RF(1) Highlighting


A set of incoming alarms has been registered. The operator would like to both detect and distinguish them from alarms that have been accepted.


The human operator needs to be made aware of new incoming alarms, which have not been accepted yet.


Use highlighting methods to direct the operator's attention to special conditions, items important to decision-making or action requirements, or as a means to provide feedback. Highlighting should be easily recognizable and minimized. A rule of thumb for displays is to limit the maximum amount of highlighting to 10 per cent of the displayed information. If a large proportion of the displayed items are highlighted, the highlighting will no longer be effective for directing the operator's attention. A particular highlighting method should be used consistently. It means that highlighting methods associated with emergency conditions should not also be used in association with normal conditions.

Known uses
Fig1. : DeltaV operate features smart color use and easy to see alarms
Fig2.The PowerOn Reliance Energy Management System uses highlighting mechanisms such as bright color contours to visualize grid areas in alarmed status

A major task of the visual system is to extract information about the great variation in illumination and viewing conditions. (Ware, C. (2012). Information visualization: Perception for design Elsevier.)