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Zoo Biol. 2014 Jul-Aug;33(4):336-48. doi: 10.1002/zoo.21134. Epub 2014 May 16.

A modified operational sequence methodology for zoo exhibit design and renovation: conceptualizing animals, staff, and visitors as interdependent coworkers.

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Department of Psychology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.


Human factors analyses have been used to improve efficiency and safety in various work environments. Although generally limited to humans, the universality of these analyses allows for their formal application to a much broader domain. This paper outlines a model for the use of human factors to enhance zoo exhibits and optimize spaces for all user groups; zoo animals, zoo visitors, and zoo staff members. Zoo exhibits are multi-faceted and each user group has a distinct set of requirements that can clash or complement each other. Careful analysis and a reframing of the three groups as interdependent coworkers can enhance safety, efficiency, and experience for all user groups. This paper details a general creation and specific examples of the use of the modified human factors tools of function allocation, operational sequence diagram and needs assessment. These tools allow for adaptability and ease of understanding in the design or renovation of exhibits.


human factors; operational sequence diagrams; welfare; zoo exhibit design

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