Implementation of usability analysis to detect problems in the management of kitesurfing equipment
Paper in proceedings, 2011
Equipment used for high-risk sports, such as kitesurfing, needs to be efficient for the intended use and the user,
and thus meet the mechanical demands and provide sufficient safety. Accidents related to kitesurfing occur, and the
consequences are sometimes catastrophic. One important factor is the equipment design, which can influence the type
and number of injuries due to insufficient safety systems. The aim of this study was to investigate how the design of
kitesurfing equipment can affect safety issues from a usability perspective in relation to the task of preparation. A focus group of 6 subjects analyzed the task of preparing kitesurfing equipment for riding, using the evaluation methods Enhanced Cognitive Walkthrough (ECW) and Predictive Use Error Analysis (PUEA). From the evaluation,
a list of plausible usability problems was identified together with proposed design guidelines. The results showed that usability problems occur during preparation. In total 35 usability problems were found, of which 11 (4 from ECW and 7 from PUEA) have a great impact on safety. These 11 problems were hard to detect for the user and could result in serious consequences for the kitesurfers during rideing. The analysis resulted in some general guidelines that are possible to implement on different types of kites. To conclude, education and improved design of the equipment are essential to increase the safety of the sport.