Human Factors Engineering Firm Outlines the Benefits and Approach of Task-Centered Design

Park City, UT – Monterey Technologies, Inc. (MTI), a human factors engineering firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, provides user interface and system design services for government, commercial and international clients. Focusing on human machine interaction, MTI utilizes Task-Centered Design to improve human performance with complex systems and operations.

Task-Centered Design methods ensure that the design of system products, software and procedures are compatible with the sensory, perceptual and cognitive attributes of the personnel who will operate, maintain, provide training and support the software.

Task-Centered Design focuses on employing task-oriented constructs for designing a user interface. This approach contrasts with a much often used “data-oriented” design approach where types of data to support tasks are placed in windows and menus are data-oriented.

“Traditional approaches to creating user interfaces look at low level system functions first and the user second,” states Michael B. Cowen, PhD, the Senior Human Systems Integration Professional of MTI. “Utilizing a Task-Centered Design approach looks first at the user and their tasks and then uses that knowledge to inform and drive an intuitive and responsive user experience and user interface.”

Task-Centered Design methods ensure that the design of system products, software and procedures are compatible with the sensory, perceptual and cognitive attributes of the personnel who will operate, maintain, provide training and support the application.

“In Task-Centered Design we conduct a series of iterative testing evolutions to evaluate the user interface, using the results to design and implement usability improvements,” states Cowen. “The goal is to improve usability by eliciting and addressing user needs that are not well-supported, leading to a more intuitive user interface.”

Task-Centered Design helps to ensure that complex systems and user interfaces are:

  1. Efficient. Task simplicity and efficiency is a core design goal. A task process with one step is more efficient than a design with two steps or two is better than four.
  2. Consistent. Process and task consistency is also critical as it impacts the ease or difficulty of training.
  3. Responsive. Task-Centered Design helps to achieve mission awareness, identify mission issues and enable rapid actions.

MTI’s work in Human Factors Engineering and Task-Centered Design includes projects for the Army, NASA, Air Force, Navy, prime contractors, and commercial entities. For additional information on how Task-Centered Design can be used to improve systems and processes visit MTI’s website at www.montereytechnologies.com.

ABOUT MONTEREY TECHNOLOGIES, INC.

Based in Park City, Utah, with staff supporting clients throughout the U.S., MTI is a human-centered analysis, design, and ergonomics firm that believes technology should be developed to serve the needs of the human user. MTI’s goal is to develop systems that allow human users to be decision makers rather than human data integrators. Current clients include the military, defense contractors, and the commercial sector. Visit www.montereytechnologies.com to learn more.

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