Rapid, workshop-based, HCD methods for complex systems

You are here: Home » Rapid, workshop-based, HCD methods for complex systems

Human Centred Design (HCD) for the fast-moving world of web/mobile products has developed tools and methods that offer value to the complex systems sector, but which have still to be applied. This paper reports on preliminary work to transfer these methods. There were three motivations:
1. Reduce the time and cost of HF methods to encourage uptake. To some extent, this can be achieved by tailoring recent methods, but mostly this requires replacing potentially exhaustive analytical approaches with methods to support iterative issue-driven design. Not necessarily anything new technically, but different packaging into events or activities that can drive an HCD programme.
2. Use workshop methods to improve stakeholder input. Methods such as those by Indy Young enable HCD activities to be undertaken in a group, supporting the multi-disciplinary teamwork of HCD, and reducing the elapsed time of the activity.
3. See how far the framework of User Experience (UX) can be translated to complex systems. This proved englightening, bringing the context of design into focus in a useful way, once the translation had been made.

The context for adapting the methods was to provide exercises for practicing HCD craft skills on a mini-course for Naval Architects and engineers. It had been assumed that such methods would be readily available, but so far as can be seen, this is not the case. Developing the materials identified a number of holes in the HF toolset, as well as some under-used assets. A generic issue was the treatment of regulations e.g. how and when to check compliance without a compliance culture. The approach to discussing human error potential in a design context and at the early stages of design needed simple categories with sufficient scope.

Methods included:
A workshop to use the context of use to identify and prioritise design issues for the HCD programme. The aspects of context of use to select was important, given the large number of potential considerations. The workshop needed sufficient engineering input to inform technical discussion.
A workshop based around a ‘user journey’. The format was adapted from the normal UX approach. Pain points for e.g. online banking were replaced with points with risk of Efficiency Thoroughness Trade-offs (ETTO), using Klein’s RPD criteria. The channels were replaced by the ‘enabling systems’ that support a system in use.
A workshop using different graphical approaches to explore user requirements; largely to obtain agreement on the difficulty of specifying them, and on identifying a way ahead.
Sets of criteria for assessing console design, team working, user/customer experience for use during observation of operation.

Acknowledgement: The work reported here was undertaken as part of the EC FP7 Project CyClaDes on Crew Centred Design and Operation of Ships.

Date & time

7-8 June 2016

NCTL Learning and Conference Centre, Nottingham

What is a Complex System?

Organised by

Follow me on Twitter