Information engineering for supporting situation awareness of nautical traffic management operators

Ellemieke van Doorn

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

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The main challenge of operators working with complex information systems is to gain sufficient situation awareness (SA). In this research project, we developed an analysis scheme to support a holistic study of SA. This analysis scheme was complemented with a method to process cognitive task analysis and observational research data to identify deficiencies of systems in supporting SA. This approach was applied in nautical traffic management practice. In total we identified 30 deficiencies, of which 23 were related to how the system interfaces support human information processing. The commonly applied user-centered design method was insufficient to overcome the identified deficiencies. User-centered design therefore was complemented with information engineering (IE) methods for analyzing relationships between information elements and for specifying UI design. Application of different IE methods resulted in the development of three UI concepts; a coherent, an integrated and a context-dependent adaptable UI. The generated UI concepts were tested using a nautical traffic management workplace simulator. Usability testing showed that the proposed IE approach had a positive effect on the effectiveness, efficiency and user satisfaction. Evaluation of the impact of the UI prototypes showed that the application of a graph theory based IE approach had positive effects on operators’ speed of gaining SA, speed of communication with priority stakeholders, and the likeliness that operators executed necessary actions in the required order. Application of semantic networks resulted in a UI which provided better support of answering questions of skippers related to future states of the traffic management environment.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Horvath, I., Supervisor
  • Rusak, Z., Advisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date13 Sep 2018
Print ISBNs978-94-6186-929-6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • situation awareness
  • traffic management
  • Information engineering
  • User Interfaces and Human Computer Interaction
  • Research Through Design


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