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Katherine Waltman

A Case for Human Systems Engineering: The Integration of Human Factors Psychology in Human-centric System Design

The visualization of data has vastly changed since the first known graphical displays by William Playfair and J.H. Lambert in the late 19th century.. From inventing the bar chart to designing airplane cockpit dashboards, humankind has been creating new methods of representation of task-related information.. As systems become more complicated and humans become more reliant on technology for safety and information propagation, it is imperative to have certain criteria in mind while designing these graphical displays, whether static or dynamic. I propose that past research done in human factors psychology should inform interface design decisions. Concepts such as the human information processing model and attentional capture inform how a user will interact with a human-machine interface based on its design. Using various models to predict behavior can also predict decision making which ultimately improves systems. This paper explains the need for Human Systems Engineering and analyzes three separate case studies: the 2018 Hawaii false ballistic missile alert, the All Nippon Airways Flight 140 near-disaster, and the Uber self-driving fatality. These cases all demonstrate the need for human factors psychology within the design of systems. 

Sector A

Advisors: Gary Hatfield (PHIL), Michael Leja (ARTH)