Psychology of System Design book cover

Psychology of System Design

This is a book about systems, including: systems in which humans control machines; systems in which humans interact with humans and the machine component is relatively unimportant; systems which are heavily computerized and those that are not; and governmental, industrial, military and social systems.

The book deals with both traditional systems like farming, fishing and the military, and with systems just now tentatively emerging, like the expert and the interactive computer system. The emphasis is on the system concept and its implications for analysis, design and evaluation of these many different types of systems.

The book attempts to make three major points: 1. System design, and particularly computer system design, must fit into and be directed by a comprehensive theory of system functioning. 2. Interactive computer design models itself upon our knowledge of how humans function. 3. Highly sophisticated interactive computer systems are presently mostly research vehicles, they are vastly different to general purpose, commercially available word processors and personal computers.

The book represents an interdisciplinary approach, the author has used psychological, organizational, human factors, and engineering sources. The book is not a "how to do it" book but it is intended to stimulate thinking about the larger context in which systems, particularly computer systems of the future, should be designed and used.

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Published: June 1991

Imprint: Elsevier

ISBN: 978-0-444-88378-0

Contents

  • Introduction to the System. Overview. The Scope of the Book. Fundamental Concepts. The Nature of the System. A Model of System Functioning. System Structure. Overview. Introduction to System Structure. Size. Differentiation. Boundaries. Organization. Communication Channels. System Attributes. Centralization, Decentralization, and Autonomy. Hierarchical Levels. Goals, Functions, Tasks, and Outputs. Structure and Problem Solving. Uncertainty and Indeterminacy. Overview. Philosophical Assumptions. Uncertainty. System Variations. Uncertainty and Indeterminacy Across Systems. Summary. Inputs. Overview. Introduction. Problem Recognition. Problem Structuring. Types of Problem Inputs. Information Processing. Information Utilization. Threat and Information Processing. Input Characteristics that Lead to Indeterminacy. Input Interpretation. Hypothesis Generation and Testing. Computerization of Input Analysis. Outputs. Overview. Introduction. Output Characteristics. System Considerations in Decision Making. Variables in Decision Making. Types of Decisions. Decision Making Consequences. Organizational Structure and Decision Making. Feedback. Decision Making Models. Computer Applications to Decision Making. Idiosyncratic Variables. Overview. Introduction. Ineffective Variables. Effective Variables. Computer Usefulness. The System Design Process. Overview. Introduction. The Behavioral Design Process. The Computer Design Process. The Organizational Design Process. Behavioral Techniques for System Analysis. Eliciting Information from Experts. Design-Aiding Techniques. Concluding Comment. Computer Design Philosophy and Architecture. Overview. Introduction. Alternative Approaches to Computer Design. Cognitive Theories. Human-Computer Interface Models. Models and Computer Design. Layering. Design Architecture. Design of System Architecture. Cognitive Theory and Organizational Structure. Computer Unfriendliness. Measurement and Evaluation. Overview. Introduction. A Review of Some Basic Research on Systems. Methods of Measurement. Measurement Strategies. Test and Evaluation of Expert (and Non-Expert) Systems. Conclusions. Index.

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