Towards An Ergonomic Interface In Ship Bridges: Identification of The Design Criteria
Authors: Fang Bin Guo, Bingyu Wu, Matthew Wah, Zaili Yang, Eddie Blanco-Davis, Abdul Khalique, Alan Bury
Abstract: Despite the current effort on ship design associated with hull structure, navigational and propulsion, equipment design inadequacy still causes approximately one-third of all maritime accidents . Human-centred design (HCD) can minimise human errors through maritime service design . The core of HCD is to enhance the usability of products/systems and maximise user’s satisfaction. The Human-centred maritime design (HCMD) applies the HCD method in ship bridge design, and enhances OOW performance in vessel operation. Service design is categorised as a sub-category of industrial design , a specification and construction process to deliver valuable capacities for actions of a particular user . Contemporary industrial designers increasingly produce concepts/solutions for services rather than physical products , which is expected to work across disciplines and understand users, technologies, and business . Taking account of the five vital parts of service design: actors (seafarers), locations (ship bridge), props (interfaces), associates (vessel manufacturers), and processes (operation workflows)  in the maritime service industry, a new HCMD will help designers to identify problems, iterate design concepts, and address all dimensions of user’s issues. VR and 3D Game Engine technologies provide an alternative approach for designers to present their design concepts. They enable prototyping and testing (data collection) works to be undertaken easily and with low cost; this was especially significant when the practice of NPD (new product development) took place during the Covid-19 pandemic. Human factors/ergonomics (HF/E) has been adopted in current ship design . The application of physical ergonomics has benefitted the modernisation of ship design to improve seafarers’ workplace conditions. Cognitive ergonomics particularly helps in the user interface design (UI) to reduce seafarers’ cognitive workload. Organisational ergonomics, however, will affect the workflow structure of vessel operations to relieve the pressure on seafarers during the decision-making process . A recently funded project has been undertaken by a multidisciplinary team, seeking a design solution to improve seafarers’ performance reliability at sea. The principles/criteria of maritime service design were developed based on the study of a) human/operator needs; b) the state-of-the-art technologies to improve the seafarer’s work environment; and c) the user experience (UX) in vessel operation. A combination of engineering and design research methods were employed: a systematic review to clarify/address the above research questions; and the field study to investigate current/future requirements of ship bridge design; to map the behavioural human-machine interaction (HMI) and further to develop the design criteria/drivers for the ideation of an ergonomic interface. The NASA-TLX (task load index) assessment method will be used in the validation phase (future work) to assess if the design solution reduced participants’ cognitive workload and enhanced their vessel operation performance. This paper explores the project conducted so far and offers initial findings.
Keywords: Human-centred design, human factors, cognitive ergonomics, product semantics, service design
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