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Appl Ergon. 1996 Apr;27(2):119-31.

Human error identification techniques applied to public technology: predictions compared with observed use.

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  • 1Industrial Ergonomics Group, School of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.


In this paper, we consider the use of human error identification (HEI) techniques as a possible alternative to observation studies for product evaluation. The HEI techniques used were Task Analysis for Error Identification (TAFEI) and Predictive Human Error Analysis (PHEA). The comparison was undertaken in connection with the prediction of errors in the use of a ticket vending machine. Two main findings emerged from the study. First, predictions derived from the HEI techniques compared favourably with errors observed in actual machine use. Second, the HEI techniques took far less time than direct observation to reach comparable levels of performance. Such rates suggest that these techniques can be usefully applied to the study of consumer products.


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