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Voices of First Responders – Applying Human Factors and Ergonomics Knowledge to Improve the Usability of Public Safety Communications Technology: Findings from User-Centered Interviews, Phase 1, Volume 5

Published

Author(s)

Yee-Yin Choong, Gavriel Salvendy

Abstract

With the newly created Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), the public safety community is in the process of supplementing the use of land mobile radios with a technology ecosystem that will include a variety of new and improved communication tools, including a range of broadband data sharing platforms. As these technologies are being developed, researchers and industry alike need to focus on the end users – the first responders – in order to ensure successful and usable systems. Understanding the user population of first responders is key to improved usability. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Usability Team took a multi-phase, mixed methods approach in order to provide greater understanding of public safety technology users, their experiences, and their technology needs and problems. This report, Phase 1, Volume 5, is the 5th in a series of reports on the data from the Phase 1 in- depth interviews. This report is a companion document and should be used in conjunction with the Phase 1, Volume 2 report that identifies the technology problems and needs of first responders from the in-depth interview data. The current report focuses on providing practical guidance and recommendations of improving the usability of communication technology for first responders by applying human factors and ergonomics (HFE) principles and usability evaluation methodology. The field of HFE considers five major aspects (perceptual, cognitive, physical, environmental, and social & organizational) of human interactions with systems to optimize human well-being and overall system performance. In Phase 1 in-depth interviews, 193 first responders have been interviewed and a total of 107 categories of technology problems and needs were identified as reported in the Phase 1, Volume 2 report. In this report, from the usability and HFE perspectives, we performed further assessment on those 107 categories and divide
Citation
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 8340
Report Number
8340

Keywords

Communication technology, First responders, Human Factors and Ergonomics, Public safety communications research, Usability, Human-centered design, User needs and requirements.

Citation

Choong, Y. and Salvendy, G. (2021), Voices of First Responders – Applying Human Factors and Ergonomics Knowledge to Improve the Usability of Public Safety Communications Technology: Findings from User-Centered Interviews, Phase 1, Volume 5, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.IR.8340 (Accessed April 19, 2021)
Created February 10, 2021, Updated March 1, 2021