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Shortly on cognitive ergonomics and HCI for psychology students

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Tuuli Pöllänen

on 6 February 2014

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Transcript of Shortly on cognitive ergonomics and HCI for psychology students

Cognitive ergonomics in human-computer interactions

Tuuli Pöllänen
What is a computer?
programmable machine designed to automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations.
Peripheral devices allow to enter information from an external source and information about the progress and results of operations.
Read, manipulate and store data.

-> Any device which processes information qualifies as a computer, especially if the processing is purposeful.

= cognitive engineering
The application of findings from theoretical sciences (e.g. cognitive science, cognitive psychology) to design products, systems, artifacts and environments for people.
Goal = "cognitive resonance" - a work space that reflects the operator's mental tasks.
- Assumption: nature of cognition should influence the used artifacts and the environment
special needs user groups!
- if the physical surrounding reflects natural cognitive tendencies, we have the following benefits:
Enhance efficiency (productivity)
Ensure safety
Assure tasks are within human capability
Improve human performance
Gain market acceptance
Reduce costs (economic, legal, social)
- All human activity includes a cognitive component -> CE analyzes any purposeful human task.
- Main focus is on work activities that have:
an emphasized cognitive component
safety-critical environments
operating in a complex, changing environment
Overlap with significant number of other fields (e.g. risk management, ergonomics, user-oriented design, HCI)
CE are different from HCI!
CE = Work system as a whole (e.g. organizational, historical influences) - domain!
HCI = user + computer + interface + context
What are cognitive ergonomics?

1890’s - 1920’s
Time-and-motion studies - determine efficient methods in performing each component task in a job
Mass production and the assembly line
Industrial safety
some history of cognitive engineering
1930’s - 1940’s
Selection and training
Job training methods
The birth of Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology
Problems with military systems--even for skilled, well trained, motivated operators
Army: Accidents in using new artillery systems
Air Force: Aircraft crashes
1960’s - 1970’s: NASA and the space program

1980’s - present: The personal computer revolution
Graphical user interface; mouse
Catastrophic accidents involving poor human factors design
Nuclear power (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl)

2000 - : From military and space systems to transportation, robotics, consumer products, aging, health care, home automation, you name it!
Two underlying conceptions: domain and human cognition
Two domain-oriented approaches:
Focusing on structural aspects of the domain (written documents and blueprints)
Representation of the domain as dynamically constructed by people at work (field research)
Human cognition:
Traditionally employs the “human information processing”-model
modeling human cognition through a computer metaphor.
Limited acknowledgement of conative components, assumes intentionality!
Different approaches to overcome these limitation – ecological psychology, affordances
models of cognitive ergonomics
Humans are involved in all aspects of technology
Users (operators)
Maintenance personnel
The successes (and problems) of technology are not only due to machines (machine failure) or humans (human error), but from the interaction of humans and machines (system error)
the systems principle
the human-machine system
We need a common language and metrics to describe (1) human, (2) machine, and (3) human-machine performance
Jakob Nielsen - ten usability heuristics based on a factor analysis of 249 usability problems.
rules of thumbs to guarantee useability in any given software
can also be used to analyze usability of pre-existing software
originally for web page design, but can be interpolated to any interface

How to optimize an interface?

Visibility of system status – “What is going on?”
system keeps users informed about what is happening through appropriate feedback within reasonable time.
Match between system and the real world – “Tell me like I’m five”
The system should speak the users' language, with words, phrases and concepts familiar to the user. Information should appear in a natural and logical order.
User control and freedom – “Oops”
Users select functions by mistake and need to be provided with an “emergency exit” to get to where they really wanted to go to as simply and fast as possible. Example: undo and redo.
Consistency and standards – “Oh. I knew that.”
The same icons or words mean the same thing within the entire platform (user doesn't need to contemplate over different icons)
Error prevention – “Glad I didn’t do that”
Eliminate error-prone conditions, or identify them and ask users for confirmation before they commit the action.
Recognition rather than recall – “What was that again?”
Minimize the user’s memory load by making objects, actions and options visible. It should be sufficient to e.g. recognize icons for commands, not remember the entire script.
Flexibility and efficiency of use – it shouldn’t matter if you’re a pro or a noobie.
Provide accelerators to experienced users to speed up the interaction. Example: syntax or key bindings. This allows the user to tailor frequent actions.
Aesthetic and minimalist design – “less is more”
Every excess unit of information in a dialogue competes with the relevant units of information, diminishing their visibility.
Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors – “My bad”
Error messages should be expressed in plain language (no codes), precisely indicate the problem, and constructively suggest a solution.
Help and documentation – “Oh, now I get it”
Best systems are simple enough to use without a user’s guide, however often help and documentation is needed. Any such information should be easy to search, focused on the user's task, list concrete steps to be carried out, and not be too large.
practical application - the da Vinci robot
benefits and shortcomings
No tremor, large range of movement
Hygienic, minimal human contact
Minimal wounds -> minimal scarring and infection, less blood loss and a faster recovery
Increases business for the hospital
Minimal movement -> minimal damages to surrounding tissues
Long training curve
manufacturers assume nearly perfect transfer from manual surgery to robot surgery
Completely insufficient training program
2 lacerated bladders, one ruined hockey player, one death during routine stomach surgery, death from severed arteries in Tampa
downtime from maintenance
costs 1-2,25 million, 140000 for yearly maintenance and 2000 per surgery for replacing parts
marketed to increase business for hospitals, not for patient benefits
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