Designing for safe operations: promoting a human-centred approach to complex vessel design
Journal article, 2017

The benefits of a human-centred approach to design have been widely recognised throughout industry, in the research community and by regulatory bodies. In the maritime domain, it is also beginning to make an impact. This article explores how a human-centred approach may successfully be achieved within the context of ship design using a case study from a project to create conceptual designs for two offshore wind turbine installation vessels. Using vessel designs as a mediating tool between designers, users and human factors specialists, basic task analysis and link analysis methods were used to incorporate operational knowledge into the design process. After applying this to the integration of a dynamic positioning system on one of the vessels, the designers concluded that a human-centred approach had improved not only ship safety, but also safety, efficiency and cost-effectiveness in operations.


complex vessels

Human factors


naval architecture

human-centred design

ship design


Linda de Vries

Chalmers, Product and Production Development, Design and Human Factors

Per Hogström

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology, Nautical Studies

Nicole Almeida Costa

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology, Nautical Studies

Steven Mallam

Chalmers, Shipping and Marine Technology, Nautical Studies

Ships and Offshore Structures

1744-5302 (ISSN) 1754-212X (eISSN)

Vol. 12 8 1016-1023

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Marine Engineering



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