By Mica R. Endsley
This booklet is directed at human components researchers and practitioners who're engaged in designing platforms to aid scenario know-how (SA) in a wide selection of components and is liberally illustrated with real layout examples.
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Additional resources for Designing for Situation Awareness: An Approach to User-Centered Design
All three crew members had bccomc fixated on a problcm with an indicator light and neglectcd to monitor thc aircraft's flight path, which, as it turned out, was not correctly set in the autopilot (National Transportation Safety Board, 1973). Whilc the conscqucnces arc not always so severe, this problcm is actually fairly common. The most common type of SA failurc involves situations wherc all thc nceded information is prescnt, yet is not attendcd to by the person monitoring thc situation. In studying aircraft and air traffic control accidents and incidents, Jones and Endsley (1996) found that 35% of all SA errors fell into this category.
Salience, the compellingness of certain forms of information, is largely determined by its physical characteristics. The perceptual system is simply more sensitive to certain signal characteristics than others. So, for instance, the color red, movement, and flashing lights are much more likely to catch one's attention than other features. Similarly, loud noises, larger shapes, and things that are physically nearer have the advantage in catching a person's attention. These are generally features that can be thought of as important for survival in evolutionary terms and to which the perceptual systcm is well adapted.
For instance, a doctor has a well-developed script of what to do for a person with a particular disease. A pilot has a welldeveloped set of procedures to follow for different types of situations. Military commanders follow doctrine. While what to do may be well-defined, the individual must still use mental models and schema to understand the situation well enough to know when to apply a particular procedure or script. When these scripts are present, the load on working memory to decide on the best course of action for a particular situation is even further reduced.