The aim of this course is to present an advanced primer for design for operator experience in complex technological systems. The course derives from the field of study known as Human Factors. Specifically, it derives from a sub-field known as Cognitive Systems Engineering, Cognitive Engineering or Cognitive Human Factors. The goal of this subfield is to support humans in cognitive tasks and capabilities while interacting with technological systems. Within this sub-field there is an important direction towards appropriate interaction design for humans, such as operators, in complex technological systems. Oftentimes, the design for operator experience is also categorized under the label of Human Machine Interaction (HMI) design; however, HMI is more appropriately a part of the broader discipline of Human Factors (Cognitive Human Factors/ Cognitive Systems Engineering).One particular thread of research in this area was specifically devoted to the design for operators in safety-critical sectors, such as nuclear. Later the frameworks and ideas were extended to broader sectors to include oil and gas, defence and aviation, among others. This approach to design has been developed significantly by a number of researchers in human factors in the last few decades. In this tutorial, design of interfaces in complex technological systems will be outlined briefly deriving from a few major texts and papers in this area that have been listed in the bibliography for further reading. Thus, this advanced primer serves as an invitation to explore the field of interaction design for complex systems.
In order to design for operator experience in complex systems, certain design processes and frameworks have been developed by human factors researchers, practitioners and designers working in the area of complex systems. The tutorial begins with Section 1 presenting a case study of poorly designed interface in healthcare that actually caused deaths. This section also presents a cautionary note on the need to design proper interfaces for engineered systems and sets the basis of the rest of the primer. The tutorial continues with listing out the challenges of interaction design in complex systems in section 2. It then provides a brief historical outline of human factors, and interfaces in complex systems in Section 3. In section 4, the steps for the design of interfaces have been outlined. The tutorial concludes with a bibliography that is the basis of the ideas , processes and methodologies expressed in the tutorial. It also serves for pointing the way forward for readers who wish to explore this area in greater detail.
By the end of this primer, you will be able to,
a) Recognize the challenges involved in designing for operator experience in complex technological systems.
b) Identify the need for a structured design process to support humans in the operation of complex technological systems.
c) Use the design concepts and processes for designing for operator experience in complex technological systems.