Sparking Process Automation Usability Conversations

You may have seen the Sound Off! blog post, Welcome to the Process Automation Usability Project– #PAutoUP. It announced:

We have been working on a Web 2.0 Social Media enabled way for the process automation community to discuss, teach and learn about usability issues in process automation for some time. It is called the Process Automation Usability Project, and you can find it here.

The post also points to Emerson’s sponsorship:

We’re grateful to Emerson Process Management for their sponsorship that allowed us to come up with what we think is a revolutionary way to communicate between ourselves about the issues we all face in making our process control and automation systems function as envisioned, as designed, and as installed. Those can be different, as we know well.

As you might suspect, as self-proclaimed “Chief Blogger,” and social media advocate, I am a big fan of this initiative. We’ve all seen great advances in usability with other technologies such as mobile devices, interactive web-based applications, and social media sites to name a few. It seems like a good idea to have a public water cooler to have conversations between process manufacturers, automation suppliers, industry press, engineering contractors, etc.

Making step changes in usability requires insights into the existing challenges that may not be readily apparent. I’m hopeful these conversations in forums across all aspects of a plant’s lifecycle, can be a major source for these insights.

Process Automation Usability Project Notification Methods
There are a number of ways you can subscribe to forum topics or categories of interest. You can subscribe by RSS to an individual post or by email for the forum topic, forum topic by individual, forum category, or forum category by individual. Emerson’s Mike Boudreaux even created an OPML file for importing all the usability-related feeds into RSS readers such as Google Reader or other favorite. The OPML file contains subscriptions to all the forum categories, the Flickr photo group, the YouTube video channel, and all Twitter tweets tagged with the designated forum tag- #PAutoUP.

A number of folks and I here at Emerson will be closely following the posts and comments and circulating some of the ideas exchanged with my friends around the Emerson organization to help spark these conversations.

Give the Usability site a visit and help break the ice by putting a new post or comment to an existing post to see if we can spark up a great conversation.

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Update: The OPML import file was missing the Security Forum RSS feed and has been updated. Also, it’s great to see some of the early conversations going such as best practices for deriving operator graphics from P&ID drawings.

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Posted Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 under Miscellaneous.

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