Ecological interface design: progress and challenges

Hum Factors. 2002 Spring;44(1):62-78. doi: 10.1518/0018720024494829.


Ecological interface design (EID) is a theoretical framework for designing human-computer interfaces for complex sociotechnical systems. Its primary aim is to support knowledge workers in adapting to change and novelty. This literature review shows that in situations requiring problem solving, EID improves performance when compared with current design approaches in industry. EID has been applied to industry-scale problems in a broad variety of application domains (e.g., process control, aviation, computer network management, software engineering, medicine, command and control, and information retrieval) and has consistently led to the identification of new information requirements. An experimental evaluation of EID using a full-fidelity simulator with professional workers has yet to be conducted, although some are planned. Several significant challenges remain as obstacles to the confident use of EID in industry. Promising paths for addressing these outstanding issues are identified. Actual or potential applications of this research include improving the safety and productivity of complex sociotechnical systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Data Display
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Problem Solving*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • User-Computer Interface*