It is challenging to deal with the operation of ships by crew members in ship design processes. This is important because the efficiency and safety of ship operations ultimately depends on the ability of human operators to use the technological systems designed for them, no matter how well the technology might perform. The challenge is that there are limited ship design processes combining coherent coevolution of ship architecture and ship operation. I propose a framework that helps ship designers connect the operation of ships by human operators with the design of ships and ship systems.

1. Introduction

Analysis of the actual uses of ship systems by human operators can inform the design of ships and ship systems with the aim of making them safe and efficient to use. However, this analysis is challenging because human-centered design (HCD) methods are not common in ship design practice and research (Lützhöft 2004; Lundh et al. 2011; Lurås & Mainsah 2013; Costa & Lützhöft 2014; Abeysiriwardhane et al. 2015). This research explores how HCD methods can be introduced to the ship design process. In this article, I present a set of human-centered methods structured into a framework that connects the operation of ships by human operators with the design of ships and ship systems.

Rothblum (2000) states that designers need to understand the tasks of the human operators during ship operations and use this understanding to create designs that are compatible with all the systems the ship users interact with. Research on ship accident statistics supports the importance of this claim and shows that most accidents are connected to errors by human operators in their use of and interaction with ship systems (Kataria et al. 2015; Praetorius et al. 2015). There are good reasons to suppose that, similar to safety, the efficiency of ship operations is also closely connected to how ship systems enable the human operators to perform their tasks efficiently.

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