The quality and value of a new system is often measured by how it meets end-user needs. Design reviews help project teams understand the extent to which systems are effective, efficient, and safe to use.

We have conducted over 100 design review sessions, involving different evaluation methods, different user groups, and products and systems at different levels of maturity. This has given us a great deal of experience in organising and conducting reviews, and working with stakeholders to understand and act on the outcomes of assessments.

We can also advise on sensible and appropriate approaches to dealing with issues of human error and the integration of design review findings into Safety Cases.

Benefits of Human Factors Design Reviews

Our design reviews can lead to the following benefits:

  • You will get an independent, unbiased review from a Human Factors Expert outside of your product team
  • Findings will be available quickly after conducting the review
  • The recommendations you get will be justified from evidence and therefore give some basis to decision making
  • We are familiar with other comparable products and systems in your industry (and in other industries) and can show you how others have solved similar design problems

Do We Need a Finished Product Before We Can Review It?

No.

If you have an idea, drawing, or 3D model it can be reviewed.  In fact, reviews at this stage can be cost effective.  Early reviews can ensure that you are on the right track.

At later stages a design review may involve end-users interacting with some representation of the product or system. The fidelity of the product depends on the design stage and the purpose of the evaluation.

Our approach starts with defining the purpose and desired outcomes of the design review. This is often either to answer a design question, benchmark a product, or to generate evidence to support a claim on the operability of the system.

We offer three main types of design review:  Expert Review by a Human Factors Specialist, a Formative Design Review conducted using a prototype or mock-up, and a Validation Design Review that is conducted on a production system or advanced prototype.

Expert Human Factors Review

Our consultants can review your design against safety and operability principles, or against applicable industry standards and best practices.

This type of review can give you a quick ‘health check’ as to the state of your design.

Formative Evaluations

Formative evaluations take place during the design development.  They are intended to help with ‘forming’ (hence, formative) the product or system.  As such, they may occur with low fidelity prototypes or partial mock-ups.

We have broad experience of evaluation facilitation in a number of different situations including: products for consumers, managerial or front-line staff, single or multi-user products, remote testing, expert or occasional use, and software of varying levels of maturity and stability. Should it be necessary, our access to a range of cameras and logging software assists with the trials process. We use planning, communication, and ‘dry-run’ activities to ensure that trials will run smoothly when end-users arrive.

Validation Testing

Validation reviews are intended to demonstrate the extent to which certain requirements have been met.  These types of study tend to be conducted later in the system lifecycle.

In systems engineering, Validation & Verification is carried out so that stakeholders can gain confidence that the equipment or system will perform as required when installed in the operational environment.

an air traffic control centre

Dealing with HF issues in the Validation & Verification process can be difficult at first. There are a number of potential problems a design team could encounter. Typical problems might include:

  • It isn’t clear how to agree that HF aspects of the design are acceptable;
  • The level of rigour that should be used when assessing HF requirements is open to question; and,
  • It isn’t clear what the HF requirements are in the first place.

We have experience in working with project teams to produce Validation Plans that balance the needs of the evaluation with the practicalities of product maturity and end-user availability. We can assist with determining the appropriate objective, subjective, and secondary measures that will address the trial purpose. We are experienced in producing briefing materials for the range of stakeholders that may be interested in the testing sessions. This ensures that stakeholders have an accurate understanding of the objectives and scope of the operability testing.

Making Sense of Review Findings

Our reporting is matched to the needs of the project. Generally we prefer to conduct a feedback workshop with the project team as soon as practical following the end of the design review. This allows the project team to discuss the early findings and get a sense of the main themes emerging from the evaluation. Following this we will produce a formal full or summary report. We are also able to provide video summaries of the key points of the testing, should this be necessary.

We will also support you to manage recommendations. While this step is often missed from the process it is critical to obtaining the full value of the investment in the design review. We are able to provide practical advice and guidance to a project team during the implementation of any recommendations.

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