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Human Engineering Design Criteria Standards Part 2: Methodology and Interview Results



Susanne M. Furman, Mary F. Theofanos, Sam Chapman


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires general human systems integration (HSI) criteria for the design and development of human-machine interfaces for the technology, systems, equipment, and facilities employed by its user population. HSI is the relationship between humans and their environment and in particular how systems are designed and used relative to that relationship with the goal of ensuring a safe and effective environment that meets the mission. In general, HSI includes the integration of hardware, software and processes (including the acquisition process and the design process). However, systematically adopting and applying HSI criteria within DHS will be a challenge because of the Department’s large and extremely varied user population. The DHS personnel who operate and maintain the department’s technology and systems carry out a variety of different tasks in operating environments ranging from airports and border points of entry to subways and Coast Guard vessels. Other DHS users include public health officials; state and local first responders; travelers to be screened; bystanders; and the general public. In this phase of the effort, NIST applied a user-centered design (UCD) approach for the DHS organization in order to determine how existing HSI standards identified in the prior phase can be mapped to DHS needs, technology, and processes. Researchers identified core, high-impact processes performed by different DHS directorates, then interviewed and (when possible) “shadowed” end users who performed those tasks. The information collected during the interview process allowed the team to identify the feature sets (e.g., device interface characteristics) of the equipment used by our end users, map those features to existing HSI standards, and begin to identify any gaps not addressed by those standards.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7934
Report Number


department of homeland security, dhs, human systems integration, hsi, user-centered design, ucd


Furman, S. , Theofanos, M. and Chapman, S. (2014), Human Engineering Design Criteria Standards Part 2: Methodology and Interview Results, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 22, 2024)
Created April 28, 2014, Updated November 10, 2018