Human Factors and Homeland Security

December 31, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: human factors, security 

With the thwarted bombing above the skies of Detroit on Christmas Day by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and the inadvertent posting of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) “Screening Management Standard Operating Procedures” manual earlier this month, the issue of human factors and homeland security has once again come to the forefront.

As I noted in a previous post, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security realizes the importance of human factors on homeland security – also see “High Priority Technology Needs, May 2009” (9.5 MB, .pdf).  Unfortunately, as the previous incidents illustrate, it’s a complex issue that still needs significant appropriate attention to solve.  Moreover, as Raja Parasuraman noted in the May 2003 issue (147 KB, .pdf) of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Bulletin:

“The recognition of HF/E as central to security initiatives represents a small but nevertheless significant victory.  Even more important will be to monitor developments to ensure that continual integration of HF/E into future technological and procedural initiatives aimed at boosting security in domains other than transportation.” (p. 6)

While progress has been made on the research side, additional work is still needed on the implementation side.  This is an opportunity for human factors and ergonomics practitioners to step forward and seek out opportunities to collaborate with government entities, security companies, etc. to assist with developing next-generation security technology and systems to ensure they will be appropriately designed to meet the needs of people while increasing security.

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Jon Kolko’s Take On User Experience

December 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: behavior, design, usability, user experience 

The current issue of Johnny Holland magazine includes an article entitled “Our Misguided Focus on Brand and User Experience” by Jon Kolko.  The author argues, in essence, that interaction designers have misplaced their focus on brand and user experience to the exclusion of designing for behavioral change.  He also states:

  • “User experience” is just a new name for old thinking, and “User experience practitioners” exhibit the same hubris that has long plagued “brand thinking”: the large name-as-mindshare mentality that a company can own a space, a segment, or even a consumer.
  • These negative qualities of our last century’s focus on brand and experience have been forced upon the business of design and the design of business, but it is only interaction and the ability to change behavior that will serve as fundamental pillars upon which to drive successful new endeavors.
  • Instead of seeking to own and prescribe a singular experience, we must strive to adapt to the peculiarities and nuances of human behavior.

To say this article will rile many in the interaction design / usability / user experience / branding communities is probably an understatement.  But, I believe the author highlights several issues that members of these communities should seriously contemplate.  As for myself, I find it an introductory “warm up” in preparation for reading his book “Thoughts on Interaction Design.”

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Design Thinking & Thomas Lockwood

December 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: design, design thinking, innovation 

Two evenings ago, I purchased and started reading Design Thinking: Integrating Innovation, Customer Experience, and Brand Value – edited by Thomas Lockwood.  The book includes 23 chapters written by 34 authors from 10 countries.

I was intrigued by Dr. Lockwood’s definition of design thinking:

“…is essentially a human-centered innovation process that emphasizes observation, collaboration, fast learning, visualization of ideas, rapid concept prototyping, and concurrent business analysis, which ultimately influences innovation and business strategy.  The objective is to involve customers, designers, and businesspeople in an integrative process, which can be applied to product, service, or even business design.  It is a tool to imagine future states and to bring products, services, and experiences to market.” (p. xi)

Also, how can one not help but be inspired by the book’s dedication:

“This book is dedicated to the creative class.  To all the right-brainers out there – and the left-brainers with a creative spark – our opportunity to make a difference is now!  There has been no greater time of need for social, economic, and environmental improvement than today, and no better people to make a difference than “design thinkers”: those who venture outside the box, who are open-minded, who enjoy collaborative ideation, who have an eye on design and eye on the future, who have a passion for change, who tell visual stories, and who do all of these things with a spirit of goodness.  We can make the world a much better place, by design, in every moment.”

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Naturalistic Decision Making Conferences

December 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: decision making, human factors, research 

According to Lipshitz, Klein, Orasanu, and Salas (2001), the naturalistic decision making “…framework was initiated in 1989 in a conference in Dayton, Ohio, sponsored by the Army Research Institute” (p. 332).  This was the first of nine international conferences (to date) that have focused on varying aspects of naturalistic decision making.   

NDM8 was held in Monterey, California in 2007.  The complete proceedings are available here (8.18 MB, .pdf). 

NDM9 was held in London, England in 2009.  Papers, posters, panels, and doctoral consortium presentations are available for download here.

A brief history of the first eight conferences can be found here (12.2 KB, .pdf).


Lipshitz, R., Klein, G., Orasanu, J., & Salas, E. (2001). Focus article: Taking stock of naturalistic decision making. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 14, 331–352. (168 KB, .pdf)

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Naturalistic Decision Making

December 15, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: decision making, human factors, research 

I’ve been reviewing much of the pertinent literature on naturalistic decision making (NDM) in preparation for developing a training module on the topic.  NDM has been defined as:

“…how experienced people, working as individuals or groups in dynamic, uncertain, and often fast paced environments, identify and assess their situation, make decisions and take actions whose consequences are meaningful to them and to the larger organization in which they operate.” (Zsambok, 1997, p. 5).

Some of the better literature I’ve reviewed on the topic include:

Klein, G. (1998). Sources of power: How people make decisions. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Klein, G. (2008). Naturalistic decision making. Human Factors, 50, 456-460. (167 KB, .pdf)

Klein, G., & Klinger, D. (1991). Naturalistic decision making. Human Systems IAC Gateway, 2(1), 16-19. (391 KB, .pdf)

Lipshitz, R. (1993). Converging themes in the study of decision making in realistic settings. In G. A. Klein, J. Orasanu, R. Calderwood, & C. E. Zsambok (Eds.), Decision making in action: Models and methods (pp. 103–137). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Lipshitz, R., Klein, G., Orasanu, J., & Salas, E. (2001). Focus article: Taking stock of naturalistic decision making. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 14, 331–352. (168 KB, .pdf)

Lipshitz, R., & Strauss, O. (1997). Coping with uncertainty: A naturalistic decision-making analysis. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Making Proceseses, 69, 149-163.

Ross, K. G., Klein, G., Thunholm, P., Schmitt, J. F., & Baxter, H. C. (2004). The recognition-primed decision model. Military Review, LXXIV(4), 6–10. (164 KB, .pdf)

Zsambok, C. E. (1997). Naturalistic decision-making: Where are we now? In C. E. Zsambok & G. Klein (Eds.), Naturalistic decision making (pp. 3-16). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc.

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