Design and Assessment Phase

If there are a number of different ideas about how you might resolve your problem there will often be a phase of design assessment where you aim to determine which of the options might be best. A system may perform well technically, but my fail dismally in the hands of an end-user. During this phase, a Human Factors engineer will be busy helping designers develop, deliver and demonstrate the potential solutions, and buyers to determine which solution makes their business function most efficiently and effectively.

  • Environmental Specification

Although the Environmental Specification my be required and developed during the concept phase to flesh out the HF requirements, it really needs to be completed and ready for use during the assessment phase. Going into the detailed design phase, the Environmental Specification is the document that details the physical environment in which people and systems will operate. As rule, it must at least specify issues such as workspace requirements, lighting (internal, external and task specific), acoustics, HVAC, finish, safety and DDA for example.

  • Interface Optimisation

Where larger, complex or bespoke interfaces are being developed, consistency may be important to improve operability and reduce error. A style guide will govern the development of a system interface by specifying such issues as the design of the control interface including how information will be presented, control interaction styles and colour schemes, rules of behaviour, icon sets and the use of input devices.

  • Issue investigation and user trials

During this phase it will be necessary to gather a much more detailed understanding of any new capability and how it will be used by the end-users. The majority of the HF domains will be considered here. Although trials and analysis will typically determine what works and what doesn't work with different designs, focussing on issues such as:

Situation Awareness

  • Workload
  • Human Error
  • The working environment
  • Operator postures and workspaces
  • Usability evaluation

  • HFI Management

Around this time the HF practitioner will be working closely with the designers, either in assisting with the design, or in an assurance role ensuring HF is being duly applied during the design process.

The issues and assumptions list will be act as the main document that documents the ongoing HF supporting tasks.

The HF practitioner will either lead or strongly support Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment, whilst also supporting other systems engineering functions such as RAMS, requirements and training.

Return to: Concept and Requirements Phase

Next Phase: Construction

© adw Human Factors Ltd 2011