Human-System Integration (HSI)
Humans are a component of all systems, even highly automated systems. People may be involved in designing, building, operating, maintaining, managing, or regulating a system. Human-System Integration aims to understand how human characteristics influence the system and how the system influences human performance, to ensure that the system works to its highest potential. Our goal is to design systems that support effective human performance, leading to better organisational outcomes.
What is HSI?
Rather than expecting people to adjust their behavior to interact most effectively within a system, we can design the system to support and encourage effective human performance.
HSI adopts a systems engineering approach to integrate human considerations throughout the lifecycle of a system. This starts at the initial concept phase, and continues through design, build, operation, maintenance, to decommissioning. The aim is to develop systems where all parts – such as human, technological, work-spaces, tools and procedures – work in cooperation rather than competition. Therefore, HSI is multidisciplinary, requiring input from a range of professionals from various fields including psychology, engineering, IT, health and physical sciences, and industrial design. HSI requires frequently consultation with the multidisciplinary team to build the best understanding of potential trade-offs.
An important discipline associated with achieving HSI is Human Factors, which involves understanding human capabilities, along with the goals and functions of the human role within the system. It uses processes and methods such as user-centred design, requirements analysis, human error assessment, risk assessment, task analysis, usability assessment, workload assessment, and testing human interactions with systems using models, mock-ups or simulation.
When to consider HSI?
Conducting HSI analyses early avoids the cost associated with re-design and/or lost productivity which can result from implementing a system that that does not support the effective performance of users.
Interactions between human and non-human elements in the system will develop and change over time, so HSI continues to be important throughout a system’s lifecycle, particularly when considering organisational change.