Mohawc taxonomy implications for design and evaluation

Jens Rasmussen, Annelise Mark Pejtersen

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The report presents a discussion of the implications of the taxonomy for work analysis developed for the CEC project MOHAWC (Models of Human Activities in Work Context) by the Risø group. The discussion is introduced by a brief overview of the taxonomy to set the stage for new readers. Following this, different approaches to the support of performance in actual work context are discussed and it is argued that ecological information systems making visible the 'deep' structure of a work space is particularly effective for discretionary tasks in modern work systems: a map of the domain is a better guide than route instructions, that is, work procedures. The complex cognitive coupling found in such work systems is analyzed and the importance is stressed of being able to support different levels of cognitive control and perception of the work domain at several levels of abstraction.Next, the nature of design is discussed together with the traditional lack of success of human factors guidelines.It is suggested, that rather than to try to guide the design process by guidelines and checklists, it should again be accepted that 'maps are better guides than route instructions.' That is, an attempt is made to support information system and interface designers by maps of the various design territories in stead of the usual guidelines. For this purpose, maps are suggested of 1. prototypical work-situations, of 2. knowledge representations used during design and of 3. display composition and interpretation. Further support of designers is suggested by the use of a catalogue of annotated interface formats and samples of annotated designs are presented.Finally, the use of the taxonomy for empirical as well as analytical evaluation of prototype systems is discussed in some detail, as is the use of the taxonomy to specify the boundary conditions for psychological experiments in order to facilitate the transfer of results of such experiments to design and evaluation of information systems.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages120
ISBN (Print)87-550-1883-1
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes
SeriesDenmark. Forskningscenter Risoe. Risoe-R


  • Risø-R-673
  • Risø-R-673(EN)


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