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UCD15 Talk - Mark Potter - Using Situational Awareness to Improve Information-Rich Digital Experiences


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The psychological phenomenon known as Situational Awareness is probably more readily associated with designing real-time, safety-critical systems such as cockpits or nuclear control rooms. However, consigning the learning and insight that research into Situational Awareness has given us to this narrow band of applications could represent a huge missed opportunity.

I will explore what good Situational Awareness looks like on an individual and team basis, how it can unlock the potential of data rich user experiences across all digital product development types and how we can use different techniques during user research, experience design and assessment to ensure that we can make the most of the information that the ‘internet of things’ and ‘big data’ will provide.

Published in: Design
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UCD15 Talk - Mark Potter - Using Situational Awareness to Improve Information-Rich Digital Experiences

  1. 1. “…it’s the le…it’s the right one…”
  2. 2. What is Situational Awareness?
  3. 3. Situational Awareness Being aware of what is happening around you and understanding what that information means to you now and in the future Endsley, Bolte and Jones, 2003
  4. 4. • Researched for around 25 years • Used widely in Aviation, Military, Power Generation, Emergency Management, Medicine • Also applies to everyday events • ‘A state variable of the human involved in his or her environment’
  5. 5. Perception Comprehension Projection Level 1 SA Level 2 SA Level 3 SA Sensemaking Predicting 75% 19% 6% Time Helps to determine how soon each element will have an impact on their goals and tasks Sensing Endsley, Bolte and Jones, 2003
  6. 6. • Attentional tunnelling • Limitations in working memory • Workload, anxiety, fatigue, stress • Data overload • Misplaced information priority • Complexity creep • Incorrect mental models • Out-of-the-loop Endsley, Bolte and Jones, 2003
  7. 7. Shared Situational Awareness The degree to which team members have the same situational awareness on shared situational awareness requirements Endsley and Jones, 2001
  8. 8. • SA is distributed according to hierarchy, space and time • Strategic, tactical, operational levels • Individuals’ SA needs to overlap appropriately • We constantly make assumptions regarding other people’s awareness
  9. 9. Why is Situational Awareness important?
  10. 10. Information Overload: more information, coming from more sources
  11. 11. • More channels of communication • More distractions • 60+ notifications a day on our smart phones • Constant multitasking degrades our concentration 2. (Mieczakowski, Goldhaber and Clarkson, 2011) 1. (Pielot, Church, Oliveira, Telefonica Research, 2014) 1 2
  12. 12. Unfamiliar Service Models: harder to comprehend and predict events
  13. 13. “…the world’s largest taxi company owns no vehicles, the most popular media owner creates no content, the largest accommodation provider owns no real estate…” (Goodwin, 2015)
  14. 14. The Ironies of Automation: Solves some problems.....creates new problems
  15. 15. • Takes humans out of the loop • Makes us passive observers - not ‘doers’ • Prevents us developing mental models • Degrades our ability to predict and recover from problems
  16. 16. How can we improve Situational Awareness?
  17. 17. Research
  18. 18. • Know your ‘machine’ and its operating environment • Focus on failures - ‘bad is stronger than good’ • Goal-based task analysis 1. (Baumeister et al, 2001) 1
  19. 19. Design
  20. 20. • Attentional tunnelling - provide the big picture • Limitations in working memory - gather information • Workload, anxiety, fatigue, stress - don’t make it worse! • Data overload - innovate in data presentation and alerts • Misplaced information priority - match information to goals • Complexity creep - simplify • Incorrect mental models - support the novice • Out-of-the-loop - provide support rather than make decisions
  21. 21. Evaluation
  22. 22. • Situational Awareness Rating Technique • Situational Awareness Global Assessment Technique • Quantitative Analysis of Situational Awareness 1. (DTIC, 2004) 1
  23. 23. Thank You
  24. 24. References • Endsley, M.R., Bolte, B., Jones, D. G. (2003) Designing for Situation Awareness. London: Taylor and Francis. • Endsley, M.R and Jones, D.G. (2001) A model of inter- and intrateam situation awareness. In M. McNeese, E. Sales & M. Endsley (Eds), New Trends in Cooperative Activities: Understanding systems dynamics in complex environments (pp. 46-67). Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. • Mieczakowski, A., Goldhaber, T. and Clarkson, J. (2011) Culture, Communication and Change: Reflections on the user and impact of modern media and technology in our lives. University of Cambridge. • Pielot, M., Church, K. and de Oliviera, R. (2014) An In-Situ Study of Mobile Phone Notifications. Mobile HCI ’14. • Goodwin, T. (2015) The Battle for the Customer Interface, in • Baumeister, R. F., Bratslavsky, E., Finkenauer, C., Vohs, K.D. (2001). Bad is Stronger than Good, in Review of General Psychology. Vol. 5, No. 4 pp. 323-370. • McGuinness, B. (2004) Quantitative Analysis of Situational Awareness (QUASA): Applying Signal Detection Theory to True/False Probes and Self-Ratings. 2004 Command and Control Research and Technology Symposium.