Stanton, Neville A. and Baber, Christopher
Alarm initiated activities: an analysis of alarm handling by operators using text-based alarm systems in supervisory control systems
Ergonomics, 38, (11), . (doi:10.1080/00140139508925276).
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Alarms constitute a significant aspect of the operator-system interface in human supervisory control tasks: they have the potential to display information that is of critical importance to overall system safety and integrity. This paper considers the trend toward the use of visual display terminals for the presentation of alarms, specifically in the use of scrolling text displays. It is suggested that this form of information display may not best serve all aspects of alarm handling. To illustrate why this is so, an analysis of human alarm handling activities is presented. The focus on text-based displays and annunciators allows the authors to concentrate on a number of problems associated with the alarm design using a specific medium. From this discussion, the alarm initiated activities model is developed. By considering the activities that people engage in when dealing with alarms, an insight is offered into the information requirements that can be used to inform the design of alarm systems.
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