A Human Factors Approach to the Design of Maritime Software Applications
Paper in proceedings, 2009

We continue to wonder why Human Factors have not had the impact in the maritime domain we believe it merits, notably including the electronic information systems that can be found onboard any vessel afloat. Obviously, there are no simple answers to this question, but the working differences between the Human Factors and Engineering disciplines is suggested to play a role. In the firm belief that a change towards more widespread use of Human Centred Design cannot be brought about without a proper understanding of such differences, this paper starts by establishing the epistemological views of engineering in the tradition of Koen, and finds that current software development methodology is well founded in this tradition. The paper moves on to highlight the contradiction this is to the methods applied in the Human Factors community, and further identifies that at least three changes are required to integrate Human Centred Design in Software Engineering. Speculating that the demand for a unilateral change of engineering may not be the only potential way ahead, the paper concludes with a query: Will the future application of Human Factors in the maritime domain benefit from the development of a side-branch of heuristic human factors expressions, in order to provide a methodological subset that fits better into the Engineering community?


Erik Styhr Petersen

DK/SAM Electronics GmbH

Margareta Lützhöft

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology, Division of Maritime Operations, Ship Work Environment and Safety

RINA Human Factors in Ship Design & Operation

9781905040551 (ISBN)

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Other Computer and Information Science



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