The maritime industry is increasingly becoming more aware of the value of human centered design (HCD) as a means to design solutions such as equipment and ships that integrate the needs of users. However, there appears to be no established and universally accepted approach to incorporating HCD in design in this industry. Therefore, this piece of research aims to review the HCD guidance available from other industries and examine how HCD is being practiced in a range of other industries, so that lessons might be learnt about how the maritime industry could advance HCD to improve safety and enhance the user experience.

More specifically the goal was to evaluate best practices from other industries and identify human-centered design information that could be applied to the maritime industry. The primary foci were to understand what was being done in other industries and to identify information that could be integrated into the framework and especially information that could support the design efforts. The work was conducted by the partners through in-depth review of the literature and existing documentation, site visits, and integrating insights from in-house projects and resources working in other domains. This summary report contains 2 main sections:

  • Review of the views and practices of HCD in other high-hazard industries, namely oil and gas, rail, aviation, and healthcare.
  • A more detailed review of available materials to identify the primary reference sources and content that are relevant to design tasks, framework population, and other WP requirements

The first section explored in detail the rationale and approaches to HCD prevalent in each specific industry, along with example case studies. Human-centered design (HCD) appears to be explicitly applied to some level in all of the four high-hazard industries reviewed (oil and gas; railway; aviation; healthcare). There is also evidence that each industry has tried to look towards other industries to learn about best practice and learn lessons about the design of applications in high risk environments. This is clearly in line with what the Cyclades project has tried to achieve in setting out this piece of work.

However, it is apparent that the practice of HCD does not always comply with the “good practices” advocated for the industry concerned. Specifically, although there are guidance documents that have been produced on the topic in each of the industries, such documents are not embedded in standard industry practice and thus are not consistently referred to by designers. Further, not all designers appear to consistently consider HCD to begin with (i.e. it is not an established “way of working”).

Despite the inconsistent application, progress has clearly been made in each of the industries towards incorporating HCD; each recognizing the value of HCD, and the rationale for its use is largely similar across the industries. Overall, it appears that the oil and gas, rail, aviation and healthcare industries acknowledge that the main advantages of HCD (and Human Factors Engineering—HFE) are a saving on costs from minimizing the need for significant changes to devices or facilities after they have been built. However, HCD is not fully embedded in these industries as standard practice, with various stakeholders (including clients who commission design projects) not fully understanding the value that HCD can bring. Regulatory regimes that do not require adherence to HCD may also weaken the impetus to implement HCD by clients and designers.

Nonetheless, by ensuring the requirement of users are incorporated at the design stage means that once in use, workers can work more efficiently and organizational effectiveness should improve as a consequence. Importantly, safety will increase once the design process includes the needs of users and addresses identified risks that users encounter in carrying out their jobs. Regulatory pressure for designers to consider HCD/HFE is also clear in industries such as oil and gas and rail. Equally, considerable thought should be given to examine the power of regulators to help support a cultural improvement in design in the maritime industry. Without a mandate to do so, designers may generally be less inclined to integrate HCD into their work. It is argued that designers will be more willing to embrace HCD practices when there is a regulatory requirement, along with a clear understanding by all stakeholders of the tremendous benefits of HCD The observations were drawn together to provide lessons learned for the maritime industry in reference to: the design process, the composition of the design team, the “users” of designs, and safety in design. The main lessons for the maritime industry relate to advancing HCD to potentially be a leading industry in this area (given the areas of good design processes already being practiced in maritime), by unifying designers through a common approach to implementing HCD in maritime, and educating the industry and its stakeholders about the benefits of HCD for them. It is hoped that the recommendations provided can enable the industry to reflect on what key principles should be considered and integrated into this approach.

The second section describes the work that was conducted to perform a detailed review of the available materials from other industries outside of commercial maritime. The goal was to identify what content could support the design activities to be conducted in CyClaDe’s 3rd work package, where innovative ergonomic concepts were applied to marine design problems, as well as content that could be integrated into the framework and used by the envisioned stakeholders, and to assist in the development of training materials for the 4th work package (demonstrators and concept demonstrators) and 5th work package (qualification concepts). The work was conducted with the mentality of how to prepare and provide this content to stakeholders. The work included detailed review of the existing content and identification and extraction of relevant materials.An extensive excel table was created to document the materials available in the transportation, industrial, medical, computer, communications, and military industries and the reviewed documents were stored in folders with the same names. The documents themselves or extracted contents or modified contents will be available via the framework depending on the relevance and copyright issues.

The results of the review made it clear that there is a significant amount of relevant information that is available throughout the literature and online resources to aid the various components of ship design but it requires a good deal of effort to identify it, time to read and understand it, and time and knowledge to adapt and apply it. The maritime industry and various stakeholders would likely be severely hindered in this process due to constraints on time to wade through the literature; knowledge of where to look and what key words to use, as well as how to quickly scan and interpret the documented material; and knowledge about how to adapt or apply these findings to their own design projects. Any steps that that CyClaDes project can accomplish to reduce these constraints should significantly increase the stakeholders’ awareness and willingness to use the design criteria and some of the methods in their work. Planned efforts such as organizing relevant design materials by the design piece they relate to, especially for criteria, best practices, worst practices and case studies could have a big impact. It is also critical to raise awareness that these materials exist when they are ready and that great effort is put into making sure the stakeholders first experience with the framework is a rewarding one.

Overall there is much that can be learned about what to do (best practices), and not to do (worst practices), from other industries concerning design and the HCD process. To realize the benefits of this information first requires motivation on the part of the maritime stakeholders to both find, accept, and provide budget to allow for incorporating this information. In the CyClaDes project this task required significant effort from HCD-skilled researchers to conduct the identification, collection, and review of information from other industries. This is time that would likely not be available for any of the stakeholders given their other duties during a commercial ship building process. It is hoped that by taking the time and effort to locate the information relevant to each stakeholder, and providing it in a way that can be directly useful (framework and learning materials), the CyClaDes project can streamline the access and willingness of stakeholders to start to understand and appreciate HCD and to begin to leverage some of the best practices, or avoid some of the worst practices, in their work. It is further envisioned that this appreciation will grow into even greater integration of HCD into the shipbuilding process as positive experiences are collected.