Perceptual Organisation and the Design of the Man-Computer Interface in Process Control
The advent of the second generation of process control computers has brought about a considerable change in the role and importance of the human operator. In place of several individual, semi-independent control units there is a trend towards more complex hierarchical systems. The operator increasingly occupies a supervisory function in co-ordinating and regulating information supplied by, and to, automatic sub-systems. Lower level machines implement the actual continuous control; the operator is principally concerned with making short to intermediate term plans in the face of anticipated or unexpected events. Such systems place great emphasis on the development of the operator’s supervisory technique; which is dependent on the design of the man-computer interface. This paper is concerned with interface design, particularly the use of computer generated displays to present information in perceptually ‘assimilable’ forms. An experiment is described which demonstrates how the representation of a control problem may inflence the interactive program user’s performance.
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