Pragmatic Use of Cognitive Work Analysis in System Design: Extending Current Thinking by Adapting the Mapping Principle

Elm, W.1, Gualtieri1, J., Tittle 1, J., Potter2, S., McKenna1, B.

In Bisantz, A.M. and Burns, C.M. (Eds.) Applications of Cognitive Work Analysis, CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL (2008)

Cognitive systems engineering (CSE) provides a means by which the interaction between people and machines can be described as they cope with complexity (Hollnagel & Woods, 2005). Cognitive work analysis (CWA) is useful for the design and testing of effective joint cognitive systems (JCS) only when understood in the larger context of a CSE approach that integrates that analysis with a representational approach to interface design. By adapting Woods’ (1991) mapping principle as a framework to integrate the results from a CWA into system design and development for effective decision support, powerful insights become evident to better understand what is needed of a CWA and how system designers can successfully exploit the power of a CWA to deliver uniquely effective computer systems as one component of a JCS. The extended mapping principle is used as the overarching context for attributes of the CWA and also as a link between the CWA and representational design that, when combined with high quality systems engineering practices, offers an end-to-end, traceable, testable design methodology. Just as steam power augmented the physical work that a human could accomplish, the tools of the information age are able to augment the cognitive work that a human can accomplish when those tools are successfully designed using CWA within an overall CSE process.

1 Resilient Cognitive Solutions, LLC
2 Charles River Analytics

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