Activity-driven design of collaborative tools for nuclear power plant control rooms

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsScientific


    Both nuclear power plants in Finland are modernizing their automation systems, human-system interfaces and control rooms. Due to this ongoing process, analog panel-based human system interfaces will be replaced with digital instrumentations. The upcoming change is expected to have an effect on operators’ work practices. We are participating in the modernization of nuclear power plant control rooms and in the design of new collaborative tools for those. In the design of complex industrial information systems finding a proper balance between theory-driven and practice-driven approaches is essential, e.g. to decide how to exploit the information from studies of user practices in the functional modelling of the to-be-designed systems. We are convinced that a link between theory and praxis is at best developed in a collaborative communication process between designers, researchers and operators. The method we have used is a mixture of different types of techniques within the context of participatory design. A technique that has shown to be especially useful is based on dialogic communication between researchers and process experts. An attempt to build up a dialogic relationship between different stakeholders takes place in a special kind of future workshops arranged. The workshops aim to bridge the gap between and to integrate expertise of different actors in a way that makes possible to illuminate the phenomenon from different perspectives. The workshop participants first develop in small groups a future plan in which the actual state is imagined from the future perspective by considering which kind of problems they have at the moment and by which way the problems could be tackled within a longer term perspective. Secondly, reflective thinking is promoted by letting each group at the time to present their ideas while others are listening. We have found that since the nuclear power process is very complex, profound expertise in the nuclear field is a key prerequisite for success in the design of new tools for the CR environment. We have also found that the development of mutual understanding between different stakeholders is a complex process that needs time. Even though the used dialogic method has shown to be promising, new ways to build communication and understanding between operators, researchers and designers are required.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationActivity Analyses for Developing Work
    Subtitle of host publicationBook of Abstracts
    Place of PublicationHelsinki
    PublisherFinnish Institute of Occupational Health
    ISBN (Print)978-951-802-836-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible
    EventInternational Ergonomic Association Symposium, ACTIVITY 2008 - Helsinki, Finland
    Duration: 12 May 200814 May 2008


    ConferenceInternational Ergonomic Association Symposium, ACTIVITY 2008
    Abbreviated titleACTIVITY 2008


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