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A feasibility study of tools for representing operators' interactions with naval command and control systems.
Harris, J.E. & Barnard, P.J.
Scicon Human Factors Report HR-2 under contract NSW 32A/1180 for ARE (Portsdown), pp.54.
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This report examines the feasibility of applying to naval command and control, formal techniques designed to represent interactions between users and computers. Such tools are being developed for office systems to provide methods for matching system design to the way users organize their tasks, their mental capabilities and their views of the office domain of application. In this study, formal tools were used in the analysis of representative aspects of picture compilation and link management, in order to arrive at user orientated task structures and the users’ knowledge requirements. The representational tools used were drawn from an integrated set of techniques, explained in this report, for representing different aspects of user interaction with computers. An incident involving errors in link management was analysed to show how empirical data can be used to elaborate and refine a prori representations. The analyses revealed ways in which current systems do not match the operators’ requirements in terms of task structure and information. They also demonstrated how the tools can be used to reveal what knowledge operators need to acquire in training in order to perform the individual parts of each task. Recommendations include the definition of representative operator tasks, at a level independent of implementation on any particular system, to be developed into a set of “benchmark” tests for comparing exiting systems, potential system designs, and different training methods. Note: Requests for access to this report should be addressed to XCO Division, ARE Portsdown.