Project: Usability of Paper-Based Industrial Operating Procedures

Partner: Cameco Corp., MITACS Accelerate
Dates: 2011 - -1
Participants: Iannuzzi, M.
Description: Procedures are standardized lists of instructions that designate the safe and accepted way of accomplishing a task. As with any other interface, procedures have an aspect of usability that can be broken down into efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction. This study intended to develop and compare the usability of paper-based industrial operating procedures in these categories. An internal audit at a plant that refines low-level radioactive materials cited the operating procedures as a common cause of many recent incidents. Two procedures were redesigned with evidence-based guidelines and human factors input. 16 operators of varying experience were asked to read through and assess the new and old procedures. The new procedures were rated significantly or moderately better than their predecessors over almost all of the categories. Future studies should attempt to discern which particular change in the procedures contributed the most to increased usability, and whether operator experience correlates with the usability ratings.
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