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HUM project

Work packages

Studies of human error

Human Error Modelling (HUM) Project

From theory to practice

To situate our research we identify three different levels at which applied research can be focused, and note there relative work packages on the HUM Project in brackets:

1. Theory (Work Package 1 and 2)

  • This is a more academically pure area where theory is developed. It is generally more technical and heavily focused on building on the literature base.

2. From theory to practice (Work Package 3)

  • This is concerned with knowledge transfer from theory to practice e.g. making theory accessible to practitioners, making theory and methods more applicable to practice contexts, and finding out why some research is more successful than others in practice.

3. Theory of practice (Work Package 4)

  • This focuses on what practitioners do in practice, to sensitize ourselves to the contextual factors in which they work and the decisions, knowledge, skills and methods they employ to achieve what they do. This more abstract level provides potential to consider culture, organisational and other group dynamics which affect working practices and performance.

These three levels of applied research are not entirely independent but these analytic divisions provide a useful framework for situating our research. Work Package 1 and 2 correspond to level 1 here; Work Package 3 corresponds to level 2; and Work Package 4 corresponds to level 3. It is intended that these different levels will inform each other in a synergistic fashion.

What has been done so far?

From theory to practice (Work Package 3)

Comparing different Usability Evaluation Methods (UEMs) to determine the scope of problems they are able to identify. This will provide insight into where the problem identification scope of UEMs is adequate and where it can be improved

Theory of practice (Work Package 4)

Grounding how web practitioners work to include the wider influence of the commercial context on usability work. This brings to the fore such issues as: the client’s influence on work, negotiation between clients and practitioners, the adaptation and use of methods, practitioner expertise and the consideration of ‘people’ in the usability process.

Future directions…

It is envisaged that these strands will work towards a system level view of usability practice, an understanding of the scope of current UEMs, and the development of UEMs and techniques that will prove useful for practitioners.



Blandford, A. & Furniss, D. (2005) DiCoT: a methodology for applying Distributed Cognition to the design of team working systems. Proc. DSVIS 2005. Springer: LNCS

Furniss, D. & Blandford, A. (2005) Understanding Emergency Medical Dispatch in terms of Distributed Cognition: a case study. To appear in Ergonomics Journal Special Issue on Command and Control.

Furniss, D., Blandford, A., and Curzon, P. (forthcoming) Usability Work in Professional Website Design: Insights from Practitioners' Perspectives. In Law, E., Hvannberg, E., and Cockton, G. (Eds.). Maturing Usability: Quality in Software, Interaction and Value. Springer.

Furniss, D., Blandford, A. and Curzon, P. (2007) Resilience in Usability Consultancy Practice: the case for a positive resonance model. To appear at workshop on Resilience Engineering, Vadstena, Sweden, 25-27 June, 2007.

Papatzanis, G., Curzon, P. and Blandford, A. (forthcoming) "Identifying Phenotypes & Genotypes: A Case Study. Evaluating an In-car Navigation System". In press: Proceedings of Engineering Interactive Systems (EIS 2007), Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer.

Furniss, D., Dix, A., Ponsard, C. and Zhang, GQ. (2005) Outdated ideas of the design process and the future of formal models/methods/notations. Proc. DSVIS 2005. Springer: LNCS

Sharp, H., Robinson, H., Segal, J. & Furniss, D. (2006) The Role of Story Cards and the Wall in XP teams: a distributed cognition perspective, Proceedings of Agile 2006, Chao, J., Cohn, M., Maurer, F., Sharp, H., Shore, J. (eds), pp65-75, IEEE Computer Society Press, ISBN 0-7695-2562-8.

This page last modified 11 September, 2007 by George Papatzanis


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