Feasibility of methods for early formative control room system evaluation
Journal article, 2020
In a nuclear power plant, human factors evaluation is an important activity in the design of the control room system to ensure safe operation. The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility of methods for early formative evaluation of nuclear power plant control room systems, that is to say assessment of more general design decisions. Two methods were chosen for the assessment, scenario-based talkthrough and heuristic evaluation, and they were tested in three nuclear power plant control room system modification projects. The two methods were found useful and suitable for early formative evaluation. The combination of the methods makes it possible to take advantage of the strengths of both methods. Using guidelines focuses the evaluation on identifying typical design problems, while using a scenario-based use-focused approach allows identifying problems less typical and more unique for the specific design being evaluated. Doing the latter thoroughly result in a recourse-intensive evaluation, but this can be countered by trading some of the thoroughness for efficiency by using guidelines in the evaluation. Proposals for future work include improving the method combination by providing better support for adapting the implementation of the methods, as well as for the practical execution of the evaluation activity. Future work should also include further investigation of the method combination's usefulness, for example in other domains.
Formative evaluation methods