Improving Interruption Recovery in Human-Supervisory Control (HSC)
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Interruptions have negative effects on the task performance in modern work environments. These negative effects are not affordable in tasks in which decisions are time-critical and have a life-critical nature. Human-supervisory control (HSC) tasks in time-critical settings such as mission command and control and emergency response are especially vulnerable to the negative effects of interruptions since supervisors in these settings are prone to frequent interruptions which are valuable source of information and hence cannot be ignored and consequences of a wrong decision in these settings is very costly because of their life-critical nature. To address this issue, this thesis investigates an activity-centric design approach that aims to help team supervisors in a complex mission control operation to remain aware of the activities that most likely would affect their decisions, while minimizing disruption. An interruption recovery assistant (IRA) tool was designed to promote activity and situation awareness of a team of UAV operators in a representative task. Initial pilot studies showed a positive trend in effectiveness of the IRA tool on recovery time and decision accuracy. This thesis explores alternative design approaches to validate the effectiveness of an interruption recovery tool that enable mission commanders rapidly and effectively regain the situational awareness after an interruption occurs in the mission environment. This thesis overview these design approaches and present results from a series of formative evaluations of our prototype designs. These evaluations were conducted in an experimental platform designed to emulate futuristic semi-autonomous UAV team mission operations.