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Calling Voyager: Interface Design for NASA’s Deep Space Network

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Presented at FITC Toronto 2017
More info at http://fitc.ca/event/to17/

Presented by Krys Blackwood, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Overview
NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) is one of its oldest and longest running projects. Without the DSN, we can’t talk to the legendary Voyager Spacecraft, or even Curiosity on Mars. The DSN is monitored and controlled by a steadfast group of unsung heroes who face situational awareness and vigilance challenges every day, and for whom change always introduces risk. Krys will talk about the DSN itself, and describe how the JPL Human Interface Group is using participatory and ethnographically inspired methodology to approach the challenges of innovation in a risk-averse, well-established culture.

Objective
This talk will introduce you to the Deep Space Network and its operators, and share techniques NASA JPL is using for user centred design, as well as design for change-resistant users.

Target Audience
People interested in innovation at NASA, or in gentle design for change-resistant users.

Five Things Audience Members Will Learn
What the DSN is
What type of people run the DSN
Some of the design techniques NASA uses for situational awareness
Some of the design techniques NASA uses for vigilance tasks
Techniques for designing for change-resistant users

Published in: Design
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Calling Voyager: Interface Design for NASA’s Deep Space Network

  1. 1. Calling Voyager UX Design for NASA’s Deep Space Network Krys Blackwood © 2017 California Institute of Technology. Government sponsorship acknowledged.
  2. 2. Once I thought I knew a lot. Then I was sure I knew a little. Now, I know that I know nothing. -Private Dowding
  3. 3. Setting the scene What is the DSN? WHO is the DSN? Change is coming Designing for change: What didn’t work Designing for change: What worked What we’re planning
  4. 4. Setting the scene What is the DSN? WHO is the DSN? Change is coming Designing for change: What didn’t work Designing for change: What worked What we’re planning
  5. 5. An intriguing design challenge Old and new technologies combined 60 years of history Designs need to last 20 years 40 years of human habit
  6. 6. https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/juno/
  7. 7. https://spaceflight.nasa.gov/home/index.html
  8. 8. Getting on with it What is the DSN? WHO is the DSN? Change is coming Designing for change: What didn’t work Designing for change: What worked What we’re planning
  9. 9. Operator persona Mostly male Mostly older Highly technical – but not IT people Highly educated – 40 years ago
  10. 10. Operators in their habitat
  11. 11. Situational awareness
  12. 12. The good old days
  13. 13. Three cultures
  14. 14. *Dramatic music* What is the DSN? WHO is the DSN? Change is coming Designing for change: What didn’t work Designing for change: What worked What we’re planning
  15. 15. Follow the Sun Photo credit: USGS
  16. 16. Three links per operator = HARD + +
  17. 17. Three links per operator = MUCH HARDER + +
  18. 18. Three links per operator = the wild, wild west + +
  19. 19. Charge boldly forward What is the DSN? WHO is the DSN? Change is coming Designing for change: What didn’t work Designing for change: What worked What we’re planning
  20. 20. How to incite revolution Big changes with no user research Drastic changes without good reason Changes with good reason that are too drastic. “User Acceptance Testing”
  21. 21. Embrace the “slow blink” What is the DSN? WHO is the DSN? Change is coming Designing for change: What didn’t work Designing for change: What worked What we’re planning
  22. 22. Evolution, not revolution Involve early, involve often Build trust Iterations Slow and steady wins the race … plus these techniques:
  23. 23. Techniques Observations
  24. 24. Techniques Experiential Research
  25. 25. Techniques Paper Prototypes
  26. 26. Techniques Paper Prototypes
  27. 27. Techniques Participatory Design
  28. 28. Techniques “Paper Dolls”
  29. 29. Techniques “What Changed” tests 19 s 12 s Existing user interface New light user interface 12 s New dark user interface Responsetime(s) 10 20 0 Higher = worse; takes longer
  30. 30. Techniques Cultivating Ambassadors
  31. 31. Techniques Banana bread
  32. 32. The future of Deep Space Operations What is the DSN? WHO is the DSN? Change is coming Designing for change: What didn’t work Designing for change: What worked What we’re planning
  33. 33. How far can we evolve? Modern technologies – but not too modern Automation PR and Goodwill Training
  34. 34. Questions?
  35. 35. Thank you! @shodoshan Krys.Blackwood@jpl.nasa.gov Want More? DSN: deepspace.jpl.nasa.gov Human Interfaces Group: hi.jpl.nasa.gov

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