Stanton, Neville A. and McIlroy, Rich C.
Designing mission communication planning: the role of rich pictures and cognitive work analysis
Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science (doi:10.1080/1463922X.2010.497197).
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Typically, Ergonomics does not have much to offer design of new systems, it either focuses on the analysis of existing systems or evaluated new systems, leaving design to the imagination of the designer. The research reported in this article considered how the gap between Ergonomics and design may be bridged, focusing on a new approach to communications planning for military platforms. Contemporary communication planning software is overly complex and difficult to learn to use. As a result, much of the functionality of these systems goes unused and the planning process is not as efficient as it could be. To tackle these problems, a new approach of combining Rich Pictures with Cognitive Work Analysis (CWA) was used; Rich Pictures revealed how users understand their work and how CWA identified the system constraints. The Rich Pictures were used to inspire the proposed new systems. Social Organisation and Cooperation Analysis-Contextual Activity Template (SOCA-CAT) from CWA and simulated task performance were then used to compare current and proposed systems. SOCA-CAT showed that the proposed system would make better use of the user's activity and simulated task performance showed that the new system would be more efficient. Feedback from the users suggested that the proposed system would result in better communication plans which would be completed in less time and with fewer errors than the current system.
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