Abstract Identifying information requirements is a well-understood activity, but the practice of converting data into visual form based on these requirements is less defined. The Ecological Interface Design (EID) framework attempts to bridge this design gap by offering a set of visual design principles. While these principles supply high-level goals to be achieved by the display, they do not describe the design process per se. EID case studies tend to report the work domain analysis, the design solution and the relationship between these two artefacts. Unfortunately, the presentation of a final solution does not reveal the rationale for decisions made during the design process. This, coupled with the complexity of the systems involved, can make it difficult to transfer design knowledge to other work domains. Here a methodology is proposed to guide the design of visual interface components that make up an ecological display. A structured approach for matching requirements to visual form based on work domain analysis, task analysis, scale matching, and data transformations is presented. A case study reveals the rationale behind the redesign of a process control health reporting system using this methodology.