Control Rooms - Related Papers

Informing Collaborative Information Visualisation Through an Ethnography of Ambulance Control - John Bowers, David Martin

An ethnographic analysis of an ambulance control centre is presented specifically investigating the design of information displays and their practical use in this setting. The spatial distribution of the displays around the control room is described and its consequences for cooperative work drawn out. From these analyses, we make several suggestions for information visualisations in virtual environments, including a design concept of multiple displays coexisting within a 3D environment as an alternative to the notion of 'immersive' information visualisation more commonly encountered. The paper closes with a reflection on the relationship between ethnographic analysis and system development that our work here exemplifies.

Martin, D. and Bowers, J. (1999). Informing Collaborative Information Visualisation through an Ethnography of Ambulance Control. In: Sixth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW '99).

The Interactional Affordances of Technology: An Ethnography of Human-Computer Interaction in an Ambulance Control Centre - David Martin, John Bowers, and David Wastell

This paper reports an ethnography of ambulance dispatch work in a large UK metropolitan region. The interplay between control centre ecology, usage of a computerised dispatch system, and cooperative work of control personnel is analysed. The methods by which a 'working division of labour' is sustained to effectively manage dispatch in the face of high workload and manifold contingency are explicated, and contrasted with methods employed by workers in other control room settings known from the literature. The implications of the study for system improvement and for several emphases in HCI research (including discussions of 'affordances') are explored.

Martin, D., Bowers, J. & Wastell, D. (1997). The Interactional Affordances of Technology: An Ethnography of Human-Computer Interaction in an Ambulance Control Centre. In People and Computers XII: Proceedings of HCI'97 (Cambridge).

Cooperative Systems Design - Ian Sommerville, Richard Bentley, Tom Rodden and Peter Sawyer

This paper discusses an innovative experiment where sociologists were actively involved in the requirements analysis for an interactive software system to support the work of air traffic controllers. Air traffic control is intrinsically cooperative and our work involved an analysis of that process from a social perspective and the development of a prototype user interface for air traffic controllers’ interaction with a flight information system.
As part of the analysis process, sociologists were involved in ethnographic studies of work and discovered subtle and complex patterns of cooperation which we suspect would not have been discovered using structured methods for requirements analysis. From a software development perspective, we describe how the input from the sociologists was essential for understanding the real automation requirements, discuss the difficulties of inter-disciplinary cooperative working and suggest how social analysis can be integrated in the interactive systems design process.

Sommerville, I., Rodden, T., Sawyer, P. & Bentley, R. (1994). Cooperative Systems Design. Computer Journal, 37 (5), 357-66.

Ethnographically-informed systems design for air traffic control - R. Bentley, J. A. Hughes, D. Randall, T. Rodden, P. Sawyer, D. Shapiro, I. Sommerville

This paper relates experiences of a project where an ethnographic study of air traffic controllers is being used to inform the design of the controllers’ interface to the flight data base. We outline the current UK air traffic control system, discuss the ethnographic work we have undertaken studying air traffic control as a cooperative activity, describe some of the difficulties in collaboration between software developers and sociologists and show how the ethnographic studies have influenced the systems design process. Our conclusions are that ethnographic studies are helpful in informing the systems design process and may produce insights which contradict conventional thinking in systems design.

Bentley, R., Hughes, J. A., Randall, D., Rodden, T., Sawyer, P., Shapiro, D., & Sommerville, I. (1992). Ethnographically-informed systems design for air traffic control. Conf on Computer Supported Cooperative Work CSCW.

An architecture for tailoring cooperative multi-user displays - Richard Bentley, Tom Rodden, Peter Sawyer and Ian Sommerville

A range of architectures have emerged which support real- time cooperative user interfaces. These architectures have tended to centralise the management of the interface and thus provide only limited support for user-centred development and interface tailoring. This paper considers the problems associated with the development of tailorable cooperative interfaces and proposes an architecture which allows such interfaces to be developed using an incremental, user-centred approach.
The architecture presented in this paper has emerged within the context of a project investigating cooperative interface development for UK air traffic control. We conclude that the architecture is equally applicable to other Command and Control domains, where a shared information space forms the focus for the work taking place.

Bentley, R., Rodden, T., Sawyer, P. & Sommerville, I. (1992). An Architecture for Tailoring Cooperative Multi-user Displays. Proc. CSCW92., ACM Press, Toronto, 187-194.