Project: CRD 98 — Human-Computer Interface Design for Petrochemical Process Control--Integrating Task- and System-based Approaches I: Integrated Modeling

Partner: Nova Chemicals, Honeywell Technology Center, NSERC
Dates: January 1998 - June 2001
Participants: Jamieson, G., Vicente, K. J.
Collaborator: Chris Miller (HTC), Jamie Errington (NOVA)
Description: The purpose of this two-phase project was to develop a novel approach to the design of human-computer interfaces for the petrochemical industry. Inefficient handling of abnormal situations in this industry has led to increased operating costs, reduced occupational safety, and adverse environmental impact. One approach to addressing these problems is by designing model-based interfaces that present operators with the information they need to deal with abnormal situations effectively. However, there are two types of models that can be used to identify the information that should be presented in human-computer interfaces. Task-based models are like directions for navigation because they identify the actions that human operators should take for particular situations; system-based models are more like maps for navigation because they emphasize the overall structure of the plant, independent of any particular situation. Task models are efficient because they identify the information and prioritize it for pre-defined classes of situations, whereas system models are more robust because they identify the functional relationships that are potentially relevant for all situations.
In the first phase of the project [TIME 94], we explored the benefits of integrating these two types of models. The integration was first attempted for the DURESS II process simulation. Plan-Goal Graphs (PGG), a task-based method, were constructed and information requirements generated. These requirements were compared with those generated by the system-based abstraction hierarchy (AH) analysis of DURESS II. The comparison revealed that the analyses were largely complementary in terms of the information generated. Subsequently, a similar comparison was undertaken for a representative petrochemical process. An AH, Hierarchical Task Analysis (HTA), and Control Task Analysis (CTA) were performed for a key stage in the ethylene refining process. A comparison of the analysis results again supported the conclusion that system-based analyses (such as the AH) and task based analyses (such as PGG, HTA, and CTA) produce complementary information requirements to be used in the design of human-computer interfaces.
The suite of information requirements generated by the AH, HTA, and CTA were consolidated, discrepancies resolved, and redundancies eliminated. The resulting list of information requirements served as the knowledge base for the design of novel human-computer interfaces in the second phase of the project (CRD 00).

View PDF Miller, C.A., & Vicente, K.J. (1998). Abstraction decomposition space analysis for NOVA's E1 acetylene hydrogenation reactor. (CEL 98-09). University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

View PDF Miller, C.A., & Vicente. K.J. (1998). Comparative analysis of display requirements generated via task-based and work domain-based analyses: A test case using DURESS II. (CEL 98-08). University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

View PDF Miller, C., & Vicente. K.J. (1998). Integrated abstraction hierarchy and plan-goal graph model for the DURESS II System: A test case for unified system- and task-based modeling and interface design. (CEL 98-07). University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

View PDF Miller, C. A., & Vicente, K. J., "Task 'versus' work domain analysis techniques: A comparative analysis," Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 43rd Annual Meeting, pp. 328-332, 1999.

View PDF Miller, C. M., & Vicente, K. J., "Toward an integration of task and work domain analysis techniques for human-computer interface design," Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 42nd Annual Meeting, pp. 336-340, 1998.

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