Skip to main content
Log in

Open user interface architecture for digital multivendor ship bridge systems

  • Article
  • Published:
WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Equipment found on ship bridges rarely offer consistent user interface design across the numerous systems that seafarers interact with. It is well documented in human-computer interaction research that consistency is an important aspect for reducing human error and increasing user ability to efficiently use digital systems. Current workplace regulations and design guidance do not provide a clear path towards interface consistency between different maritime vendors and equipment. Because of this, there is a need to develop new and consistent frameworks for the design of modern ship bridges and their systems. We approach such a problem by asking the following question: How can the organization of ship bridge systems enable consistent user interfaces for multivendor ship bridges? To answer this, we present work from an industry-driven project seeking to regulate the relationships between ship bridge (i) integrators and (ii) system vendors. This paper presents a user interface architecture that systematically distinguishes between system integrators and system vendors. This user interface architecture then applies web development processes and methods that, we argue, establish a framework for increased design consistency. Furthermore, this architecture presents a new path for ship bridge user interface development that adapts current state-of-the-art user interface methodologies to a maritime context. We argue that by implementing the proposed architecture framework the industry can capitalize by saving costs, increasing innovation and improving the quality of ship bridges, thereby optimizing the work environment for seafarers and overall ship safety.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Similar content being viewed by others


  • American Bureau of Shipping (2003) Ergonomic design of navigation bridges. American Bureau of Shipping, Houston

    Google Scholar 

  • American Bureau of Shipping (2014) The application of ergonomics to marine systems. American Bureau of Shipping, Houston

    Google Scholar 

  • Apple (2018a) iOS design themes. Accessed April 2018

  • Apple (2018b) macOS design themes. Accessed April 2018

  • Bootstrap (2018) Bootstrap. Accessed 1. June 2018

  • Curtis N (2010) Modular web design: creating reusable components for user experience design and documentation. New Riders

  • Facebook Inc. (2018) React. Facebook Inc. Accessed 1. June 2018

  • Frost B (2016) Atomic design. Brad Frost

  • Gardner B (2011) Responsive web design: enriching the user experience. Sigma J Inside Digit Ecosyst 11(1):13–19

    Google Scholar 

  • Germanischer Lloyd_SE (2012) Bridge arrangement and equipment on seagoing ships. Hamburg, Germany

  • Google (2018a) Angular. Google. Accessed 1 June 2018

  • Google (2018b) Material design. Accessed April 2018

  • Grech MR, Horberry TJ, Koester T (2008) Human factors in the maritime domain. CRC Press, Boca Raton

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Hetherington C, Flin R, Mearns K (2006) Safety in shipping: the human element. J Saf Res 37:401–411

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • International Maritime Organization (2000) Guidelines on ergonomic criteria for bridge equipment and layout London, UK

  • Kataria A, Praetorius G, Schröder-Hinrichs JU, Baldauf M (2015) Making the case for crew-centered design (CCD) in merchant shipping. In Proceedings of the 19th Triennial Congress of the International Ergonomics Association, August 9th–14th, 2015, Melbourne, Australia

  • Lee S, Lemon N, Lutzhoft M (2015) Harmonizing guidance for future ship navigation systems. Sea Technology Magazine, Compass Publications Inc, United States, 1, November,1–4

  • Lützhöft M (2004) The technology is great when it works. Maritime technology and human integration on the ship’s bridge. Dissertation, Linköping Studies in Science and Technology

    Google Scholar 

  • Lützhöft M, Nyce J (2008) Integration work on the ship’s bridge. J Mar Res JMR 5:59–74

    Google Scholar 

  • Lützhöft, M., Vu, VD. (2018) Design for safety. In: In H. A. Oltedal & M. Lützhöft (Eds.), Managing maritime safety (pp. 106-140). Milton Park, Abingdon; New York, NY: Routledge.

  • Mallam SC, Nordby K (2018) Assessment of current maritime bridge design regulations and guidance. The Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Oslo

    Google Scholar 

  • Mallam SC, Lundh M, MacKinnon SN (2015) Integrating human factors & ergonomics in large-scale engineering projects: investigating a practical approach for ship design. Int J Ind Ergon 50:62–72

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Marcotte E (2010) Responsive web design. A list apart magazine

  • Meck U, Strohschneider S, Brüggemann U, Platz E-A (2009) Interaction design in ship building: an investigation into the integration of the user perspective into ship bridge design. J Mar Res 6:15–32

    Google Scholar 

  • Microsoft (2018) Design basics for UWP apps. Accessed April 2018

  • Nathan C (2016) A design system isn’t a project. It’s a product, serving products. Accessed 1 June 2018

  • Nielsen J (2014) Coordinating user interfaces for consistency. Elsevier

  • Nordby K, Lurås S (2015) Multimodal interaction for marine workplaces used as strategy to limit effect of situational impairment in demanding maritime operations. Paper presented at the International Conference on Marine Design, London, Sept. 2–3, 2015

  • Nordby K, Morrison AD (2016) Designing calm technology and peripheral interaction for offshore service vessels. Pers Ubiquit Comput 20:601–613

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nordby K, Frydenberg S, Fauske J (2018) Demonstrating a maritime design system for realising consistent design of multivendor ship’s bridges. In: Human factors, London, UK, 26th–27th September 2018. The Royal Institution of Naval Architects

  • Polymer (2018) Polymer project. Polymer. Accessed 1. June 2018

  • The Maritime Executive (2017) S-Mode: have your say. Accessed 04/06/2018

  • The Nautical Institute (2008) S-Mode for onboard navigation displays: an NI user-led initiative seaways. pp 25–26

Download references


The article is funded by the Research Council of Norway and the OpenBridge consortium partners. Thanks to the OpenBridge consortium for contributing to the article and allowing us to use their systems in our research.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kjetil Nordby.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Nordby, K., Mallam, S.C. & Lützhöft, M. Open user interface architecture for digital multivendor ship bridge systems. WMU J Marit Affairs 18, 297–318 (2019).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: