Overcoming the challenges of integration of Human-centred Design within the Naval Architecture ship design process
Paper i proceeding, 2015

Human-centred design (HCD) and usability have been well-established notions in human factors engineering, general design research and interaction design since before the 1990’s, aiming to enhance effectiveness, efficiency and user satisfaction, thereby facilitating retention of personnel, decreasing costs, the need for training and the likelihood of use error. Nevertheless, it has not always been of easy implementation in design practice. For a complex network of stakeholders such as that of the maritime sector, change often meets resistance. This study describes some challenges experienced when attempting to synthesise a human-centred approach within the process of a Marine Design Project and investigates some different solutions to overcome them. Successful integration was found to be dependent on discovering common ground, thereby creating a mutual understanding between all stakeholders involved and a shared environment to facilitate communication. The iterative ship design spiral process, and the visual representations of the vessel it produces, in fact provide several suitable opportunities to do so. Though time and resources were limiting factors, the main obstacle to be overcome proved to be the necessity of seeking to understand the task at hand from the perspective of the other. Additionally, the impact of a human-centred approach may be significantly increased if one of its primary benefits were to receive more emphasis, namely its contribution to safe and efficient operations.

human factors

participatory ergonomics

ship design spiral

knowledge mobilisation

naval architecture

human-centred design


Linda de Vries

Chalmers, Sjöfart och marin teknik, Nautiska Studier

Nicole Almeida Costa

Chalmers, Sjöfart och marin teknik, Nautiska Studier

Per Hogström

Chalmers, Sjöfart och marin teknik

Steven Mallam

Chalmers, Sjöfart och marin teknik, Nautiska Studier

Proceedings 19th Triennial Congress of the International Ergonomics Association, Melbourne 9-14 August 2015


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