Seafarers invited to help manufacturers improve onboard design

Shipping has not been especially good at asking the users of its assets – the seafarers – how to improve designs. This could change with news today that the Nautical Institute and CIRM, the principal international association for marine electronics companies, have launched a joint initiative to improve the usability of navigation and communication technology onboard ships.

Speaking at the International e-Navigation Underway Conference today, David Patraiko, director of projects for The Nautical Institute, and Richard Doherty, chief technical officer for CIRM, announced the development of the CIRM User Feedback Forum.

Applying human-centred design is a key goal of the International Maritime Organization’s eNavigation strategy.

“As a design concept goes, this all makes perfect sense,” said Patraiko. “Many mariners are keen to offer feedback into the design process but struggle to identify how to.”

To encourage mariners’ input, CIRM has created the CIRM User Feedback Forum, which brings together willing seafarers and interested manufacturers to ensure that designs are validated using human-centred design principles. The forum can be accessed here.

The process is absolutely free for seafarers and confidential for the manufacturers. Training centres are also invited to become involved and to form relationships with manufacturers that may be interested in running trials.

“This is a golden opportunity for all mariners and trainers to improve the design of systems they may have to use in the future, while enjoying the process of working with the design teams,” said Patraiko. The Nautical Institute also plans to publish case studies from these trials, which will spread the benefits to the whole industry.



Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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