Situation Awareness-Oriented Design

Mica R. Endsley

in The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Engineering

Published in print February 2013 | ISBN: 9780199757183
Published online May 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Situation Awareness-Oriented Design


The design of systems centered on the functioning of subsystems and technologies has created a plethora of problems and challenges for the human users of such systems, including information overload, cognitive confusion, inefficient processes, and ultimately significant errors that are blamed on human frailties. Such problems can be largely averted by using a human-centered design process that organizes and presents information in ways that optimize user situation awareness (SA) and understanding, successfully informing decision processes in ways that fit within the constraints of dynamic and complex operations. SA-oriented design provides an explicit and replicable mechanism for achieving user-centered design, including goal-directed task analysis for capturing not only information requirements but also how that information is used in the decision process. Fifty principles for guiding successful user interface design provide guidance on how to organize information and present it in a way that enhances the higher-level understanding and projections needed for good SA, and also deals with key challenges for SA associated with understanding information uncertainty and trust, alarms and diagnosis, system complexity, automation design, and support for SA across distributed team operations. Finally, the third stage of SA-oriented design includes metrics for assessing the degree to which system designs are successful in delivering SA under the challenges of real operational conditions, providing a useful addition to other measures such as performance, workload, and usability.

Keywords: situation awareness; user-centered design; decision making; user interface design; cognitive task analysis; measurement

Article.  7349 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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