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About Design Matters

Design Matters at Work

Design Matters creates custom control room designs for installations both in the US and abroad. We serve many industries including Oil & Gas, Pipeline, Electric Utilities, Process Control, Technology based companies, Military and DoD.

Design Matters’ objective is to create rooms that limit disruptions and distractions, and keep operators alert. We want to improve productivity (efficiency) and minimize risk (efficiency PLUS accuracy). Our designs create a working environment that provides high quality of life for operators, which in turn keeps everyone safe while producing high performance and low turnover for their companies. Our process has a proven track record of decreasing project timelines by defining the true scope of the facility and eliminating costly and timely construction change orders and setbacks.


Control room design requires a very special understanding of the unique environment of the control room and the elements that can impact operators/controllers. Knowledge of how space, lighting, acoustics, technology, fatigue mitigation, operator interactions, efficient workflow, architecture etc…all work within a specific set of tasks is critical. Our experience with over 400 control rooms positions Design Matters as a leader in this highly specialized design process.

Most control rooms function fairly well under normal circumstances, and the need for specialized design is not always apparent. But in crisis mode, operators must be highly aware in their observations, accurate in their responses and control rooms must operate at the most efficient level possible. These times are when indecision, poor decisions, miscommunication or missed information can have catastrophic results. To achieve this accuracy and efficiency, we begin with the ISO 11064 control room design standard as a starting point. Through observation, application of best practices and industry standards, and our own design methodology, we develop a unique solution for every control room. We take into account the current operation of your control room, including past and future needs, as well as technological changes on the horizon.

Our observation method often reveals poor structures and habits that do not seem harmful on an everyday basis, but can lead to serious consequences if a problem arises. In order to best understand your needs, our team will spend days and nights observing your current operation, individually interviewing all operators, supervisors and anyone else that directly impacts the control room. We conduct time and motion studies to measure fatigue-causing events, and capture current room conditions, including lighting, noise, traffic, and interruptions.

Design Matters’ methodology combines our comprehensive data collection process and vast experience with input from your team to ensure that all needs are represented. Everyone that works within or supports the control room is given an opportunity for input and buy-in to the decisions being made. The result is the best design possible for your control room, and a working environment over which people feel a sense of pride, ownership and commitment.

Our Team

Our team of experts is uniquely qualified to address control room design in a way that simultaneously addresses the big picture and the important details:


Steve Whitley

Steve has more than 25 years of experience in 24/7 Mission Critical room layout, design and outfitting. Our exceptional experience comes from a team which collectively possesses over 1,000 control rooms of experience across a wide spectrum of industries and applications. Utilizing our unique methodology and our ‘100 Critical Element’ design criteria , we provide subject matter expertise that goes well beyond the ISO 11064 standard for control room design. Design Matters is able to provide informed guidance taking into account best practices and industry standards, as well as, new trends to provide recommendations for current and future needs.

Interested in talking about next steps?

Use the contact form to send us an email.


Kirk Linder

Onsite Consultant


Jim McGraw

Onsite Consultant


Mark Hermann

Onsite Consultant


Marci Lowry

Onsite Consultant

Client Testimonials

“Our work with Steve Whitley of Design Matters for the design of an important control room for a major metropolitan water treatment plant has been a real pleasure. Steve’s professionalism and attention to detail during the critical programming phase through the preparation of construction documents for this essential public service with difficult design and physical parameters, has been invaluable for the success of the entire process. Mr. Whitley was the “go-to guy” for coordinating the design efforts between the work of the control room designers and our office, and was readily available throughout the entire process. We can with enthusiasm recommend Design Matters to you.”

Centric Architecture

Prevent Distractions in Your Control Room

We have created a new training tool for control room teams. Order it today and prevent distractions in your control room from becoming large-scale problems.