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Research-Based Design and Usability Guidelines for Electronic Charting Systems (ECS) in Yachting and Boating

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Electronic Charting systems (ECS) in yachting and boating are the non-professional counterparts to ECDIS in commercial shipping. In the absence of legal regulations on design and use, a wide variety of products have developed. Their usability is not only safety critical but often even determines whether navigation functions like route building or track recording are used at all. With two empirical studies employing standard usability methods from human factors research, we assessed the usability of a variety of current ECSs on a sailing yacht. In study 1, nine usability experts conducted multimethod analyses while sailing in typical cruising areas on sea. Building on the results, a standardized user test was designed and carried out with 12 prototypical users plus 3 usability experts in inland waters (study 2). Finally, a set of 38 design and usability guidelines were formulated. The guidelines may not only help boat owners and charter companies in selecting a current market product but also aid manufacturers in designing their future products. Contributions: David Jung (study 1) and Martin Müller (study 2) conducted the studies and formulated the guidelines. Gisela Müller-Plath designed and managed the research project ANeMoS (Analysing Use and Impact of New Media on Sailboats) which the present work is part of, commanded the sailing yacht, and wrote the paper.
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International Journal of e-Navigation and Maritime Economy 10 (2018) 032–048
Available online at http://www.e-navigation.kr/
e-Navigation Journal
Original article
Research-Based Design and Usability Guidelines for Electronic Charting Systems (ECS)
in Yachting and Boating
Gisela MÜLLER-PLATH
*
, David JUNG, Martin MÜLLER
Department of Psychology and Ergonomics, Berlin Institute of Technology, Germany,
*
gisela.mueller-plath@tu-berlin.de, Corresponding Author
Abstract
Electronic Charting systems (ECS) in yachting and boating are the non-professional counterparts to ECDIS in
commercial shipping. In the absence of legal regulations on design and use, a wide variety of products have de-
veloped. Their usability is not only safety critical but often even determines whether navigation functions like
route building or track recording are used at all. With two empirical studies employing standard usability meth-
ods from human factors research, we assessed the usability of a variety of current ECSs on a sailing yacht. In
study 1, nine usability experts conducted multimethod analyses while sailing in typical cruising areas on sea.
Building on the results, a standardized user test was designed and carried out with 12 prototypical users plus 3
usability experts in inland waters (study 2). Finally, a set of 38 design and usability guidelines were formulated.
The guidelines may not only help boat owners and charter companies in selecting a current market product but
also aid manufacturers in designing their future products.
Contributions: David Jung (study 1) and Martin Müller (study 2) conducted the studies and formulated the guide-
lines. Gisela Müller-Plath designed and managed the research project ANeMoS (Analysing Use and Impact of
New Media on Sailboats) which the present work is part of, commanded the sailing yacht, and wrote the paper.
Keywords: Electronic Charting System (ECS), Usability, Boating, Yachting, Chartplotter, GPS.
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Copyright 2019, International Association of e-Navigation and Ocean Economy.
This article is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).
Peer review under responsibility of Korea Advanced Institute for International Association of e-Navigation and Ocean
Economy
A preliminary version of this work was presented at the hanseboot, held in Hamburg, Germany, Oct 30- Nov 03, 2017.
Gisela MÜLLER-PLATH et al. / International Journal of e-Navigation and Maritime Economy 10 (2018) 032–048 33
1. Introduction
Most modern sailing or motor yachts are equipped with
an Electronic Charting System (ECS). Although an ECS
on a pleasure craft usually does not qualify as an Elec-
tronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS)
and thus, according to SOLAS V, the craft is required to
have nautical paper charts on board, electronic naviga-
tion is increasingly on the rise.
For example, in a 2015 survey among 112 German
sailing yachts on the Baltic coast (Müller-Plath, 2016,
2018), 83 % were equipped with at least one ECS: 73 %
had a chartplotter as part of a multifunction display
(MFD) on board, 44 % a laptop with a navigational chart
application, and 30 % a tablet computer. However, 60 %
of the ECS owners refrained from interacting with their
device, i.e., they neither set up waypoints or routes nor
did they record tracks, and 10 % did not even switch it
on. On charter boats, these portions were even higher.
Since the ability and willingness of navigating “old
school”, i.e. with paper chart and magnetic compass, is
constantly decreasing, the high proportion of non- or
passive ECS users constitutes an alarming safety issue.
According to the latest annual review of the European
Maritime Safety Agency, casualties and incidents in-
volving recreational sailboats with auxiliary motor and
motor boats have more than doubled between 2012 and
2016 (EMSA, 2018, p. 30). For sailboats, most incidents
involved collision and grounding/stranding (p. 106), and
the vast majority of all pleasure craft incidents occurred
in coastal waters (p. 110). All these types of incidents
might possibly be reduced by proper use of a reliable
and well-designed ECS.
In our own survey on German sailing yachts in Baltic
coastal waters (Müller-Plath 2016, 2018, see above),
66 % of the interviewed shipmasters reported that their
ECS caused a serious navigational problem or incident
at least once. For example, boat masters reported that
sometimes a nearby lateral buoy was charted on the
starboard side of the ship but appeared on the port side.
They attributed this to a chart error without considering
that the GPS position of the ship might have been inac-
curate by several meters. In another incident, an essential
cardinal buoy indicating a shoal was displayed only in
the highest zoom level of a vector map. The famous
crash of the offshore racing yacht Vestas Wind on a re-
mote reef in the 2014 Volvo Ocean Race demonstrates
that even highly experienced navigators are overstrained
with this feature of many vector charts (Oxenbould et al.,
2015, p. 33). Such phenomena of “over-reliance in fa-
miliar signs” is a well-known cognitive failure in hu-
man-computer interaction (Rasmussen, 1986), and
should thus be counteracted by the design of the system.
Asked about the general advantages and drawbacks of
electronic navigation in yachting, the boatmasters
praised the fast and precise GPS positioning, in particu-
lar in bad weather and at night, but criticized the diversi-
ty of devices, the abundance of functions, and the com-
plicated operation of the human-computer interface, e.g.
the structure of menus (Müller-Plath, 2016, 2018).
Whereas human factors research has been dealing a
long time with the usability and human-centred design
of web pages and many other domains of computer in-
teraction, recently even in the realm of commercial ship-
ping (e.g. Grech & Lützhöft, 2016), maritime ECSs on
pleasure crafts were disregarded so far. The present
work intends to fill this gap: Based on two usability
studies on coastal and inland waters, a set of usability
guidelines were formulated.
2. Theory
2.1. Electronic Charting Systems (ECSs) on Pleasure
Crafts
A variety of terms and abbreviations have been estab-
lished for systems and their components, which will be
briefly outlined in the following as far as relevant for this
paper (for details see e.g. the Boat Crew Handbook from
the United States Coast Guard, 2017).
An electronic charting system (ECS) consists of a
CPU-based unit with electronic charts, a Global Naviga-
tion Satellite System (GNSS) receiver, a display, and an
input device. For pleasure crafts, there exist specially
designed stationary systems, the Multifunction Displays
(MFDs), which include some more components and are
connected to the power system of the boat, as well as
mobile devices like tablet computers with specific apps,
which are battery dependent. Figure 1 shows three dif-
ferent ECS types.
The first component, the electronic chart, is of either
vector or of raster type. Vector charts consist of data that
represent real world objects. Since each object is sepa-
rate, it allows the user to query the chart for more infor-
34 Gisela MÜLLER-PLATH et al. / International Journal of e-Navigation and Maritime Economy 10 (2018) 032–048
mation than can be displayed. It also allows the ECS to
test each object for grounding or height alarms. Based
on zoom level and operator preference, the ECS hides or
displays certain objects, for example a certain percentage
of buoyage. Raster charts (RNC) are digital images of
paper charts, referenced to geographic coordinates. A
GPS position can be displayed upon the raster chart, but
accuracy depends upon many factors, including the type
of projection (e.g. Mercator) and the reference system
(e.g. WGS-84) used in the original chart. Users cannot
query raster chart data for more information or base
alarms on them. On the other hand, the entire infor-
mation of the paper chart is always visible, and the im-
age becoming pixelated when zooming too high may
warn the user against an over-reliance on GPS accuracy.
The second component, the GNSS receiver, is an elec-
tronic device that receives and digitally processes the
signals from a satellite constellation and ground-based
correction transmitters (DGPS) in order to provide posi-
tion, time, speed, and course over ground. It supports
signals from GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and other re-
gional systems, as well as DGPS sources, and is either
built into the ECS or an interfaced external antenna.
Thirdly, the display is either a chartplotter, mounted
stationary to the ship, or a mobile device like a tablet
computer. It displays the GNSS signal as a boat icon on
the electronic chart so that position, heading, and historic
track of the boat can be visualized. A chartplotter is usu-
ally not only interfaced with the GNSS receiver but also
with a variety of other signal transmitters, e.g. depth
sounder, radar, AIS, anemometer (on sailing boats), so-
nar (on fishing boats), and motor unit (on power boats).
Whereas on commercial ships, data are displayed on
several screens located on the ship’s bridge, on pleasure
crafts they are assembled in one single device, the multi-
function display (MFD), which is mounted outside, usu-
ally close to the helm. The display needs to be robust
and visible in harsh weather as well as direct sunlight.
The different data screens can be displayed either in al-
ternation by command or in a split-screen mode.
Finally, the input device is either simply the
touchscreen, or a set of rotary and push buttons, or a so-
called hybrid touchproviding both. With the latter, the
navigator might, for example, shift the map, zoom in,
and set waypoints via touch which is quick and easy but
often inaccurate, or via rotary/push buttons which is
more cumbersome but more precise, especially in rough
sea or bad weather (see Figure 1, left panel).
Figure 1: Three ECS types for pleasure crafts as used in the first study.
Left: Multifunction Display (MFD) with hybrid touch as input device and vector chart (Raymarine eS75, Navionics chart).
Centre: MFD with touchscreen as input device and navigational vector chart (Garmin GPSmap 721xs).
Right: Seaworthy tablet with touchscreen as input device and navigational app (Neptune nep 7, app DK yacht navigator).
Now, what is the difference between ECS and ECDIS?
In short, an ECS might qualify as an ECDIS if it fulfils
the chart carriage requirements set up by the IMO in
SOLAS regulations V/18 and V/19 (IMO, 2014). There-
fore, it must be type-approved, it must use the official
and up-to-date Electronic Navigation Charts (ENCs, i.e.
no raster charts and no vector charts produced by a pri-
vate company), it must be maintained so as to be com-
patible with the latest IHO standards, and it must have
adequate, independent back-up arrangements in place
(IMO, 2017a). Performance standards for ECDISs have
long been defined by the IMO, the IHO, and the IALA,
and are constantly being worked on. For technical, legal,
or usage details, the interested reader is referred to the
elaborate book by Weintritt (2009). Also, a standard
mode (s-mode) of operation, activated by button press,
Gisela MÜLLER-PLATH et al. / International Journal of e-Navigation and Maritime Economy 10 (2018) 032–048 35
has intensely been discussed (e.g., Conley, 2018) and is
now being developed (IMO, 2017b). For pleasure craft
ECSs, in contrast, legal regulations on design and use
are lacking, and the market has produced a wide variety
of products. Our usability guidelines provide a first step
towards quality assurance and unification in this realm.
2.2. Usability and Usability Evaluation
Intuitively, everyone knows what usability is, at least
when lacking. The International Organization for Stand-
ardization (ISO) in its standard 9241-11 defines usability
in human-system interaction as the extent to which a
system, product or service can be used by specified users
to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency
and satisfaction in a specific context of use” (ISO, 1998,
2018). Bevan et al. (2016) spell out how these concepts
are understood and thereby extended in the new version
of the standard: Effectiveness comprises “accuracy,
completeness, and lack of negative consequences with
which users achieved specified goals”. Both objective
and perceived success are necessary. In an ECS on a
sailing yacht, grounding as a consequence of not dis-
playing a shoal and/or a cardinal buoy is an example of
lacking effectiveness (negative consequence, and fallacy
in spite of perceived success in setting up a safe route).
Efficiency means how much effort (mostly measured in
time) users require for achieving the goal. For example,
an ECS is inefficient if in order to change a waypoint
underway when the user, who on a sailing yacht is usu-
ally the helmsman, has to go through several levels of a
complicated menu on the chartplotter. Satisfaction
meant originally only what users think about a product’s
ease of use, but has been redefined in the new version to
refer to user experience (UX) in the modern understand-
ing, thereby comprising “positive attitudes, emotion
and/or comfort resulting from use”. All unintended ef-
fects from operations reduce satisfaction, like setting a
waypoint on a touchscreen when trying to shift the map.
Further, the new version clarifies that not only regular
use but also learning how to use the system, accessing it
from different levels of capability, and maintaining it
should be effective, efficient, and satisfactory. Part 110
of standard ISO 9241 (ISO 9241-110, 2008) relates spe-
cifically to the usability of interactive systems. It formu-
lates seven principles that are necessary for usable inter-
active software dialogues: suitability for the task, self-
descriptiveness, controllability, conformity with user
expectations, error tolerance, suitability for individuali-
zation, and suitability for learning.
Whereas with web-pages and other human-computer
interfaces, a high degree of usability only adds to cus-
tomer satisfaction and thereby sell numbers, in the do-
main of yachting and boating, where there is little legal
regulation of how to perform the navigation task, the
usability of an ECS is safety-critical, either directly by
the system being ineffective, or indirectly, when effi-
ciency and satisfaction determine whether the user uses
the device and/or specific functions at all.
Since it is not trivial to detect even severe usability is-
sues, a variety of evaluation methods have been devel-
oped in human factors research, comprising analytical
procedures for usability experts as well as user tests and
questionnaires for domain experts (for a detailed over-
view, see, e.g. standard ISO/TR 16982 (2002). Although
usability evaluation has been a standard in human-
system interaction since 1998 (ISO 9241-11, 1998;
ISO/TR 16982, 2002) and ECS/ECDIS are being used
for ship navigation at least since then, human factors
research is still rare in this realm. For example, Grech
and Horberry (2002, cited in Grech & Lützhöft 2016, p.
96) described a relationship between increasing techno-
logical levels and loss of situation awareness. With re-
gard to ECDIS, Grech and Lützhöft (2016) found that
the navigational aids with their multitude of modes often
overstrain the average user. When usability is lacking,
the crew may be trapped into so-called design induced
errors. These and other works (e.g., Brooks & Lützhöft,
2015; Lee et al., 2015) laid the foundation for the
“Guideline on Software Quality Assurance and Human
Centred Design for e-Navigation” issued by the IMO in
2015. To date, very few usability studies have been pub-
lished for commercial craft ECDISs (e.g. Wang &
Zheng, 2014; Nakagawa et al., 2016) and none for
pleasure craft ECSs.
Having been alert to serious usability problems of
ECSs on pleasure crafts through our own survey (l-
ler-Plath, 2016, 2018), we decided to conduct the first.
Since human-centered design (formative usability evalu-
ation) is out of reach for human factors researchers at a
university, we were left with assessing usability issues
on current market products (summative evaluation). Our
purpose was not to test and assess the devices competi-
tively but to publish general principles on ECS design
and usability in the format of guidelines, which will
36 Gisela MÜLLER-PLATH et al. / International Journal of e-Navigation and Maritime Economy 10 (2018) 032–048
hopefully affect consumers’ present purchase decisions
and manufacturers’ future product developments.
We conducted two studies on sailing yachts cruising
coastal and inland waters. Participants ranged from usa-
bility experts with basic knowledge of sailing and navi-
gation to prototype users, i.e. experienced yacht masters.
A variety of usability evaluation methods according to
standard ISO/TR 16982 (2002) and the IMO guideline
(2015) were applied, as set out as follows.
3. Materials and Methods
Our usability evaluation on current market products
corresponded to IMO guideline stage 4 “integration and
testing” and activity 4 “evaluate the design against usa-
bility criteria” in the cycle of user-centered design (2015,
p.5, p. 13). We applied methods of all types recom-
mended in the IMO guideline for this stage: expert eval-
uation (observation of scenario/task performance), ques-
tionnaires, interviews, walk-throughs, task-based user
testing, and observations. Table 1 gives an overview.
Table 1: Overview of methods, material, participants, and settings in the three usability evaluation studies
* Device on participant’s own yacht.
Methods ECS / Chart Participants Setting: Craft; Place
Study 1
Think-aloud
Questionnaires:
ISONORM 9241,
AttrakDiff 2
Walk-through:
Keystroke Level-
Model (KLM)
1. MFD Raymarine eS 75 /
Vector chart Navionics Platinum
2. MFD Garmin GPSmap 721 xs /
Vector chart Garmin BlueChart
3. Tablet neptune nep 7 /
Raster chart App DK yacht navigator
Usability experts with de-
cent knowledge in sailing
and navigation
(n = 9)
Sailing yacht „Mary
Read“ (32 ft);
Baltic coastal waters
between Germany,
Poland, and Denmark
Study 2
Standardized
task-based
user test
1. MFD Raymarine eS 75 /
Software Lighthouse 2,
Vector hart Navionics Platinum
2. MFD Garmin GPSmap 721 xs /
Vector chart Garmin BlueChart
3. Tablet neptune nep 7 /
Raster chart App DK yacht navigator
4. Tablet Apple iPad Air2 /
Raster chart App DK yacht navigator
5. Tablet Apple iPad Air2 /
Vector chart App Navionics Boating HD
6. * Tablet Samsung Galaxy Tab3 /
Raster chart App NV-charts
7. * MFD Standard Horizon CP 300i /
Raster chart NV-chart
Prototypical users, i.e.
yacht sailors (n = 12):
Age: 32-82 years
Nautical miles sailed:
1.000 100.000
Navigation experience
with ECS/with paper only:
n = 10 / n = 2
Different sailing
yachts (see text);
inland waters: lake of
Wannsee and Havel,
Berlin, Germany
Supplemental
standardized
task-based
user test
8. MFD Garmin GPSmap 820 /
Vector Chart Garmin BlueChart
9. MFD B & G Zeus /
Vector chart NV-chart
10. MFD Furuno TZTL-12F /
Vector chart MM3 MaxSea
Usability experts (authors
of the study with good
knowledge in sailing and
navigation / technician
with basic knowledge
(n = 2 / n = 1)
Not on craft but on
MFDs displayed in a
shop;
Hamburg, Germany
Gisela MÜLLER-PLATH et al. / International Journal of e-Navigation and Maritime Economy 10 (2018) 032–048 37
3.1. Study 1: Expert Evaluation
3.1.1. Participants, ECSs, and Setting
Nine students of the master program Human Factors at
Berlin Institute of Technology with a major in cognitive
ergonomics and some boating experience participated as
usability experts. Although familiar with usability stand-
ards in human-computer interaction and GPS navigation
devices, none of them had any experience with maritime
ECSs. In preparation for the present study, they received
training in maritime paper chart navigation sufficient to
pass the German recreational marine vessel license test.
Afterwards, they went in threesomes on board the 32
feet sailing vessel “Mary Read”, which was equipped
with three ECSs (two MFDs and one tablet, see Figure 1
and Table 1). One was mounted close to the helm, the
other next to the companionway, and the tablet was
handheld. Usability was evaluated during three one-
week sailing trips leading through popular yachting are-
as in the Baltic and providing different challenges to
coastal navigation: numerous isles and islets in the first,
open sea crossings through major shipping lanes and
traffic separation schemes in the second, and narrow
channels, fairways and extended shoals in the third.
3.1.2. Procedure, Task, and Methods
On each sailing trip, each participant was assigned one
of the three ECSs for navigation and usability testing.
(Thus, each ECS was independently tested by three ex-
perts in different area and weather conditions.) The first
two days of the trip allowed the participants to become
familiarized with the boat, maritime navigation, and the
functionality of the individual ECS. On days 3-5, the
three participants served as navigator on one leg each
with his/her ECS in order to empirically test its usability.
On days 6-7, each participant assessed his/her device
analytically with a cognitive walk-through. Day 7 also
served as a spare day. The lengths of the test legs varied
between 18 and 48 nautical miles. For safety reasons, all
legs were sailed in daylight. The weather varied between
clear weather, rain, and haze, so that the sight was be-
tween about 10 and 0.5 nautical miles.
For the usability test, the navigator accomplished two
tasks with his/her ECS, route planning and navigation.
The tasks were carried out on the chart display of the
device with according data windows and menus, but not
including radar, AIS or sonar overlay.
Route planning comprised the following goals:
Set several waypoints on the electronic chart,
connect them to a route,
consider all hazardous points and areas underway,
store the route for subsequent use.
During the task, the navigator was asked to think aloud
(Duncker, 1926; Nielsen, 1994), with another participant
recording all verbalized and observed usability issues.
Subsequently, the navigator completed two standardized
questionnaires, the ISONORM 9241-10”, which as-
sesses the seven dialogue principles that are requested
for interactive software dialogues in ISO 9241 part 10
(see section 2.2 of this paper), and thereby focuses on
the concepts effectiveness and efficiency in the usability
definition (ISO, 1998, 2018), and the “AttrakDifwhich
focuses on the concept “satisfaction” in the usability
definition, i.e. user experience (UX; ISO, 2018).
On the other day, the navigator used his/her ECS for
navigation underway by advising the helmsman in sail-
ing the route. This task comprised the following goals:
Display the stored route on the chart,
display additional navigational information like soundings,
bearings, ETAs, etc.,
zoom in and out where necessary,
check XTE and read bearings,
quit waypoints when reached,
at each waypoint: announce new heading to the helms-
man, landmark for steering when available (e.g. buoy),
and possible dangers (e.g. shoals),
start, stop and store track recording.
During this task, the navigator was again asked to think
aloud and to complete the two questionnaires.
For the analytical usability evaluation, the Keystroke
Level Model (KLM, Card et al., 1980, El Batran & Dun-
lop, 2014) was applied. Based on assumed time dura-
tions for typical operations like button press, swipe, or
zoom, it predicts how long it will take an expert user to
accomplish a task without errors with the ECS. The
KLM thus constitutes an objective measure of efficiency.
Each participant had to accomplish the following six
typical tasks:
Place a new waypoint at a rough position (a buoy),
delete an existing waypoint,
build a route between two existing waypoints,
build a route with two new waypoints,
during navigation, display the bearing between two sub-
sequent waypoints,
38 Gisela MÜLLER-PLATH et al. / International Journal of e-Navigation and Maritime Economy 10 (2018) 032–048
insert a new waypoint into an existing route,
start track recording.
In each, the number and type of operations for optimal
task solution were recorded.
3.1.3. Data Analysis and Results
Since it was not our aim to evaluate the three ECS de-
vices competitively but to formulate general design prin-
ciples, the positive and negative usability issues from the
18 (2 tasks x 3 devices x 3 participants) think-aloud pro-
tocols were rated in seriousness and classified into a 10 x
7 matrix (10 functional areas, 7 dialogue principles ac-
cording to ISO 9241-110, 2008). Data from the subjec-
tive usability questionnaires as well as the objective effi-
ciency estimates from the KLM method were accumu-
lated across the three participants testing the same device
and also entered into the matrix. Based on the matrix, a
preliminary version of design and usability guidelines
was formulated with 27 items, organized into eight sec-
tions and rated according to their relative importance in
five levels. For details of study 1, the reader is referred to
the master thesis by Jung (2016, in German).
3.2. Study 2
3.2.1. Participants, ECSs, and Setting
Twelve experienced yacht sailors volunteered for con-
ducting a standardized user test. Regarding age, sex,
level of experience in yachting and in electronic naviga-
tion, their distribution (Table 1) resembled as closely as
possible that of our above cited survey sample (112
German sailing yachts on the Baltic coast, Müller-Plath,
2016, 2018). The user tests took place on an inland sail-
ing area of approximately 12 km length and 2-4 km
width with several arms, islets, harbours, and a buoyed
fairway. In every user test, three persons were on board:
The participating sailor, the investigator, and the yacht
skipper. Ten sailors participated on our boat “Mary
Read” and tested one of the ECSs no. 15 in Table 1,
which took about 3 - 3.5 hours each. Two sailors partici-
pated with their own boat and conducted the user test
twice, first with their own, familiar ECS (no. 6-7 in Ta-
ble 1) and afterwards with one of our mobile ECSs (no.
4-5 in Table 1), which took about 4 4.5 hours.
As a supplement, three usability experts (two authors of
this paper and the technician of the department) tested
three other renowned ECSs in a shop on land.
3.2.2. Procedure, Task, and Methods
Each participant performed the standardized user test
on the boat, filled out a checklist, and gave an interview.
The user test was organized into three procedural sec-
tions: User settings, route building, and navigation.
Whereas the first mainly reflects the initial interaction
with a new device (e.g. when buying a new device or
taking over a charter boat), the two others should be rou-
tine procedures on every sailing day. The tasks were:
Section 1: User settings (boat moored in harbour):
Set the waypoint arrival distance which triggers the way-
point arrival alarm to 0.1 nm = 185 m.
Set sound level and tone of waypoint arrival alarm ac-
cording to your own preferences.
Set the depth at which the shallow water contour and col-
our is displayed to 3 m.
Configure the input devices so that the chart is operated
only via buttons and the menu only via touch.
Set up data boxes in corners and/or at top of chart screen
that display the following information during navigation:
position (lat/lon), COG, SOG, distance to next waypoint.
Section 2: Route building (boat moored in harbour):
Build a route of three waypoints (WP) according to a
sketch on a paper chart: Place WP 1 so that a direct course
to WP 2 is possible, WP 2 by entering a specific position
(lat/lon), and WP 3 close to a specific buoy.
Store the route for later use.
Section 3: Navigation (boat moored in harbour)
Activate a stored route consisting of five WPs.
Report the following route data: total length, number of
waypoints, starting time, estimated time of arrival (ETA),
route display on the chart.
Start navigation mode in order to follow the route.
(Boat casts off and sails are set if possible)
(En route between WP 1 and 2)
Move WP 3 from one buoy to another.
(En route between WP 4 and 5)
Extract information about a specific lighthouse from the
chart.
Find a specific lock on the chart and determine its rise.
Determine distance and bearing from WP 5 to this lock.
The participant was asked to complete each task as fast
as possible or to find that the function was not available.
He/she was allowed three minutes of trial-and-error be-
fore being offered assistance. Solving time and levels of
assistance were recorded, as well as the behaviour and
oral comments. Immediately after each section of tasks,
the participant completed the associated part of a check-
list, reflecting the items of the preliminary usability
guidelines, which in turn were derived from the result
matrix of Study 1 (see above). Back in the harbour, the
Gisela MÜLLER-PLATH et al. / International Journal of e-Navigation and Maritime Economy 10 (2018) 032–048 39
test ended with an interview on the tested system.
The supplemental user test in a shop on land was iden-
tical in all parts except that the navigation mode could
not be started and GPS accuracy not be assessed. More-
over, the tasks lacked the realistic and demanding char-
acteristic of operating the device while sailing the boat.
3.2.3. Data Analysis and Results
First, the usability of each device for each task was as-
sessed quantitatively: The levels of assistance the partic-
ipants needed, the solving time, and the rating of wheth-
er the participant would use it himself for a sailing trip
served as measures of the usability components effec-
tiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction (see Section 2.2).
Moreover, usability was assessed qualitatively by the
users’ comments, interviews, and behavioural observa-
tions. For detailed results, the interested reader is re-
ferred to the master thesis by Müller (2016, in German).
Based on these results, we revised the preliminary usa-
bility guidelines. In sum, the participants of study 2, who
were in contrast to the young usability experts of study 1,
yacht sailors of typical age and experience, confirmed in
large parts the preliminary version: 22 items were con-
firmed, 1 item cancelled, 5 items split up into two or
three items, and 7 new items were added. We also reas-
sessed the relative importance ratings of the items.
4. General Results
Based on two standardized studies on a sailing yacht,
one performed by 9 usability experts on 3 different
ECSs on sea, the other carried out by 12 prototypical
users plus 3 experts on 10 different ECSs in inland wa-
ters and a shop on land, a set of 38 design and usability
guidelines was formulated, consisting of nine sections.
The first section concerns the input device. Both usabil-
ity studies showed that a touchscreen as the only input
device lacks effectiveness: Its neither operated precisely
in swell nor with gloves. We thus recommend a second
input device (1.2). Moreover, a touchscreen should not
respond to rain or spray (1.1) and allow effective zoom-
ing in landscape mode (1.3).
With regard to touchscreen operation (section 2), al-
most all analysed devices needed to be improved. The
main problem was unintentional setting of waypoints
when the user tried to trigger some other function on the
chart. This could easily be resolved if a long tap for
waypoint setting was implemented instead of a short one.
In general, gestures (2.1) and symbols (2.2) should com-
ply with conventions familiar from other touch applica-
tions. Moreover, hit areas must be large enough (2.3)
and located so that the finger of the user does not cover
necessary chart information (2.5). Since a frequent oper-
ation is moving a waypoint in a route, this should be
possible directly on the chart and not only through a
menu several levels away (2.4).
Section 3 concerns the chart. Although vector and ras-
ter charts each have their own advantages and disad-
vantages (see above section 2.1, p. 2), users preferred
vector charts. However, the associated opportunities are
currently not yet exhausted (3.3, 3.4, 8.1), and the dan-
gers not effectively addressed: As illustrated in the intro-
duction, the majority of users felt insecure with the vec-
tor chart arbitrarily leaving out navigational information
at higher zoom levels (3.1) and with too many zoom
levels (3.2). Some charts were difficult to perceptually
conceive because of choice of colours (3.6).
Section 4 deals with navigational information (way-
points, routes, status information) displayed on and in-
teracted with on the chart screen. Most users wished a
summary of the route before starting it (4.1). All users
considered it essential that an informative list of way-
points be optionally displayed next to the chart (4.2, 4.4)
and linked with the chart (4.3), as well as some data
boxes with status information (4.5). Currently, only one
system provided an effective, efficient, and satisfactory
solution. Another requirement was that chart objects (e.g.
buoys, lights) be always displayed in priority to way-
point and route symbols (4.6), which none of the sys-
tems fulfilled.
The structure of the menu (section 5) needed improve-
ment, particularly in one of the systems. Not only did it
require long sequences of operations to carry out related
functions (5.2), but also the buttons were located far
from each other (5.1) and termed in unfamiliar words
(5.3). All this hinders efficient interaction.
Section 6: In software design, recurring workflows
must be identified and implemented rather than single
functions in order to interact effectively and efficiently
with the system. In our studies, the system with the
shortest processing paths was rated most usable by the
experts in study 1. However, it failed the user test in
40 Gisela MÜLLER-PLATH et al. / International Journal of e-Navigation and Maritime Economy 10 (2018) 032–048
study 2 because of hidden and/or unfamiliar symbols to
trigger them. Thus, recurring workflows (building a
route, inserting a waypoint into a route, etc.) should re-
quire short processing paths (6.1) which are easily ac-
cessible (6.2). Most users wished an undo function (6.3).
Section 7 concerns transparency. According to standard
ISO 9241-110 (2008), any system must inform the user
about its current status. Most safety-critical is the accu-
racy of the GPS position (7.1) and loss of connectivity
with a data source (7.4). Users also wished information
about loading times (7.2) and processes being automati-
cally carried out in the background (7.3).
Customization of functions is demanded in section 8.
Since not only users differ (in digital experience, lan-
guage, etc.) but also situations, any possibility to indi-
vidually configure the system was appreciated by the
users (8.1-8.5). Also, users wish an easy mode with a
reduced functionality (8.6). Particularly for charter boats,
an s-mode (see ch. 2 for ECDIS) might be a good idea.
The final section 9 regards user support. Mainly the us-
ers in study 2 wished an interactive tutorial (9.1) and a
built-in and easily accessible help-function (9.2) when
confronted with a new system or task.
The format of the guidelines was oriented at the well-
known “Research-Based Web Design and Usability
Guidelines” published by the U.S. government (Leavitt
& Shneiderman, 2007). For each guideline, the relative
importance was rated, and the empirical support from
the present and additional research is given. The guide-
lines in full length with comments and illustrations are
provided in the appendix.
5. Conclusions
Resulting from two usability studies with experts and
prototypical users, a set of 38 design and usability guide-
lines were formulated in order to improve effective, effi-
cient, and satisfactory use of ECSs in yachting and boat-
ing. The guidelines may not only help boat owners and
charter companies in selecting a market product but also
aid manufacturers in designing their future products.
The studies and the guidelines focused on standard
maritime navigation tasks at daylight. Other popular
functions and components of MFDs were not analysed
(e.g. sailing or fishing functions, AIS, radar, see p. 3).
The guidelines are limited to ECS application for day
trip navigation in inland or coastal waters and do not
cover offshore, professional, or regatta applications.
Although some of these limitations seem negligible in
the light of the statistics reporting that the vast majority
of casualties and incidents on pleasure crafts occur in
coastal waters (see above, p. 2), future work should ex-
tend the guidelines to collision prevention functions like
AIS and radar. The guidelines need to be revised at regu-
lar intervals as technological development moves on.
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42 Gisela MÜLLER-PLATH et al. / International Journal of e-Navigation and Maritime Economy 10 (2018) 032–048
Appendix: Research-based Design and Usability
Guidelines for ECS in Yachting and Boating
Remark: The guidelines mainly refer to navigation tasks
in daylight without AIS or radar overlay.
1. Input Device
1.1 The touchscreen must be insensitive to rain or spray.
Comment: Water drops must not set unwanted
waypoints or trigger functions.
Relative Importance: 4 very important
Research Support: 1 system, 1 expert in study 1
(Jung, 2016, p. 65)
1.2 There should be two input devices for using menus
and applications, a touchscreen and a physical device.
Comment: Input via touch is quick and easy, where-
as input via keys and/or buttons is more precise. In
hard weather conditions or with gloves, the user
may not be able to operate the device via touch. An
example of a hybrid touch is shown in Figure A.1.
Relative Importance: 3 important
Research Support: 1 system, 2 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 48, 61); 1 system, 3 experts in
study 2 (Müller, 2016, p. 62).
Figure A.1. Positive example of guideline 1.2.: This hybrid
touch device can be operated alternatively via the touchscreen,
or via one rotary and seven push buttons on the right-hand side.
1.3 On the touchscreen, the sensitivity to the pinch ges-
ture for zooming should match the vertical screen extent.
Comment: If the vertical extent of the screen is al-
tered, e.g. by switching from portrait to landscape,
or by using a split-screen mode, the sensitivity of
pinch should be adjusted accordingly to allow effec-
tive zooming.
Relative Importance: 2 –moderately important
Research Support: 1 system, 1 expert in study 1
(Jung, 2016, p. 50); 1 system, 3 experts in study 2
(Müller, 2016, p. 64).
2. Operation
2.1 Gestures for touchscreen operation should comply
with common navigation applications.
Comment: Touchscreen gestures should be as fol-
lows: short tap on the chart activates the indicated
function, closes an open menu, and centres the
chart; long tap on the chart sets a waypoint; swipe
shifts the chart; pinch zooms in or out. In particular,
if a short tap on the chart sets a waypoint, frequently
unwanted waypoints are set.
Relative Importance: 5 compulsory
Research Support: 3 systems, 6 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 46, 49-50, 53); 2 systems, 4 users /
3 experts in study 2 (Müller, 2016, p. 57, 63).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; con-
formity with user expectations, error tolerance).
2.2 Symbols indicating touchscreen operations should
comply with common conventions.
Comment: Symbols indicating operations need to be
unequivocal, e.g. a button marked with a symbol
that indicates operation via swipe on other common
systems should also be operated via swipe on the
ECS screen (Figure A.1 no. 1).
Relative Importance: 3 important
Research Support: 2 systems, 3 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 51, 53); 4 systems, 6 users / 3 ex-
perts in study 2 (Müller (2016, p. 56, 60, 62-63).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; con-
formity with user expectations); Nielsen (1995, 2nd
heuristic).
2.3 Touchscreen hit areas should be large enough.
Comment: Hit areas, i.e. areas of the screen the user
touches to activate something, require adequate
space for the user to accurately (and confidently)
press (Figure A.2, no. 2). The average fingertip is
Gisela MÜLLER-PLATH et al. / International Journal of e-Navigation and Maritime Economy 10 (2018) 032–048 43
between one to two centimetres wide, which rough-
ly correlates to somewhere between 44px and 57px
on a standard touchscreen.
Relative Importance: 3 – important
Research Support: 2 systems, 1 user / 3 experts in
study 2 (Müller, 2016, p. 57, 63).
Additional Evidence: Nielsen & Budiu (2013).
Figure A.2. No. 1: Violation of operation guideline 2.2. The
symbol at the left hand side of the screen conventionally im-
plies to be operated by swipe but actually requires a short tap
in order to open the waypoint list, thereby violating guideline
2.5. No. 2: Violation of operation guidelines 2.3, 2.5. The
magenta coloured squares denote the hit areas for operating the
divider tool which measures distance and bearing between two
points. However, they are so small that they are hard to acti-
vate (guideline 2.3), and when being moved, the user’s finger-
tip covers the chart object of interest (guideline 2.5). No. 3:
Example of transparency guideline 7.1. In the upper left
corner of the screen, the accuracy of the GPS position is al-
ways visible as digits (here: 96 m, which is too inaccurate for
coastal navigation). See Figure A.5 for a better solution.
2.4 Waypoints (WPs) need to be moved directly on the
chart.
Comment: There should be three ways for moving a
waypoint on the chart: (a) selecting the WP with a
long tap and moving it via swipe, (b) selecting the
WP with a long tap and selecting its new position
with another long tap, (c) selecting the WP with a
long tap and entering its new GPS coordinates.
Relative Importance: 5 compulsory
Research Support: 3 systems, 5 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 46, 50, 53); 1 system, 3 experts in
study 2 (Müller (2016, p. 63).
2.5 The user’s finger should not cover chart information.
Comment: If a chart element (e.g. a waypoint, the
divider tool) is to be positioned precisely on some
point on the chart via swipe, then the area for acti-
vating the element has to be large. Otherwise the
finger of the user covers just that detail of the map
(e.g. buoy) that is necessary for precise positioning
(see Figure A.2, no. 2).
Relative Importance: 5 – compulsory
Research Support: 1 system, 2 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 52, 64); 1 system, 1 expert in study
1 (Müller, 2016, p. 63).
3. Chart features
3.1 In vector charts, navigation-relevant information
must be visible all the time.
Comment: Navigation-relevant information like
shallows, rocks or buoys must be visible at every
zoom level. The symbols need to be chosen so that
the chart stays clear at all zoom levels. If the hiding
of some information cannot be avoided for reasons
of clarity, the user should be informed that infor-
mation is hidden, e.g. with a text “not all infor-
mation visible” or an unequivocal symbol.
Relative Importance: 5 – compulsory
Research Support: 2 systems, 5 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 47, 50, 59); 4 systems, 1 user / 3
experts in study 2 (Müller, 2016, p. 59, 62-63).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitabil-
ity for the task); Lavie & Oron-Gillad (2013).
3.2 The number of zoom levels should be limited.
Comment: With too many zoom levels, users may
lose the overview of the navigated area. In particular,
a zoom level that exceeds GPS accuracy may induce
overreliance on digital technology.
Relative Importance: 2 – moderately important
Research Support: 1 system, 2 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 47, 60).
44 Gisela MÜLLER-PLATH et al. / International Journal of e-Navigation and Maritime Economy 10 (2018) 032–048
3.3 The vector chart should provide additional infor-
mation on chart objects.
Comment: Additional information like opening
times, signals, VHF channels, moorings or buoy
names/numbers should be available for chart objects
like bridges, locks, harbours, lighthouses, buoys etc.
Relative Importance: 3 important
Research Support: 3 systems, 3 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 48, 52, 54), 8 systems, 12 users / 3
experts in study 2 (Müller, 2016, p. 58-60, 62).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitabil-
ity for the task, suitability for individualization).
3.4 All chart and menu entries should be displayed in the
pre-set system language.
Comment: The system must not mix languages.
Relative Importance: 3 important
Research Support: 2 systems, 2 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 51, 60); 3 systems, 1 user / 3 ex-
perts in study 2 (Müller (2016, p. 61-63).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitabil-
ity for individualization).
3.5 Categories of chart objects should be contrasted from
the background and each other by colour.
Comment: This is necessary in order to find infor-
mation at a single glance (Figure A.3).
Research Support: 2 systems, 5 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 47, 50, 59); 1 system, 1 user in
study 2 (Müller, 2016, p. 61).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitabil-
ity for the task); Treisman (1985).
Figure A.3: Violation of chart guideline 3.5. Too much in-
formation is displayed in magenta and therefore difficult to
perceptually segregate in one glance.
4. Navigation (routes, waypoints, and data)
4.1 Before starting a route, a brief summary should be
displayed.
Comment: The total distance, number of waypoints,
duration or starting time and estimated time of arri-
val (ETA), and graphical presentation on the chart
should be given (see Figure A.4, No. 1).
Relative Importance: 4very important
Research Support: 2 systems, 2 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, p. 51, 55); 2 systems, 1 user / 3 experts
in study 2 (Müller, 2016, p. 59, 62).
4.2 The list of waypoints should be optionally displaya-
ble next to the chart.
Comment: The user should be able to view the
graphical route display and the list of waypoints
simultaneously (Figure A.4, no. 1).
Relative Importance: 4 very important
Research Support: 1 system, 1 expert in study 1
(Jung, 2016, p. 55).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitabil-
ity for the task).
Figure A.4. No. 1: Positive example of navigation guide-
lines 4.1–4.4: The list of waypoints next to the route contains
the necessary information for every waypoint, is linked with
the route, and can be optionally shown and hidden. No. 2:
Violation of navigation guideline 4.6. The waypoint symbol
hides the light sectors of the beacon almost completely.
4.3 The list of waypoints should be linked with the route.
Gisela MÜLLER-PLATH et al. / International Journal of e-Navigation and Maritime Economy 10 (2018) 032–048 45
Comment: When a user selects a waypoint from the
list, the chart should display it simultaneously, and
vice versa in order to comfortably interact with it.
Relative Importance: 4 very important
Research Support: 1 system, 1 expert in study 1
(Jung, 2016, p. 55).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitabil-
ity for the task).
4.4 For every waypoint, the list should show either the
change of course or the new course, making it unequivo-
cally clear which one is shown (Figure, A.4, No. 1).
Comment: The helmsman needs this information in
order to anticipate steering actions.
Relative Importance: 4 very important
Research Support: 1 system, 2 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, p. 61).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitabil-
ity for the task).
4.5 Navigation information in data boxes and fields
should always be visible, easy to understand and config-
urable by the user.
Comment: On most devices, data boxes and fields
are provided, that show status information of the
boat and the course, e.g. lat/lon position, speed over
ground (SOG), course over ground (COG), depth,
time, distance to go etc.
Relative Importance: 3 important
Research Support: 2 systems, 3 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 58-60, 62-63); 5 systems, 4 users /
3 experts in study 2 (Müller, 2016, p. 58, 61, 62-63).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitabil-
ity for the task, self-descriptiveness, suitability for
individualization).
4.6 Display of chart objects should be prioritized.
Comment: Navigational chart objects like buoys,
depth information etc. must not be hidden by graph-
ical elements set by the user, e.g. waypoint symbols
or route names (Figure A.3, no. 2); these are better
displayed in empty spaces on the display or semi-
transparently.
Relative Importance: 5 compulsory
Research Support: 1 system, 1 expert in study 1
(Jung, 2016, p. 53); 1 system, 1 user in study 2
(Müller, 2016, p. 60).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitabil-
ity for the task).
5. Menu structure
5.1 Buttons for related functions should be located close
to each other.
Comment: Buttons for functions that are commonly
activated in succession (e.g. setting waypoints and
connecting them to a route) are operated more easily
when located adjacently. Likewise, buttons for op-
posing functions (e.g. deleting a waypoint and in-
serting a waypoint) should be located far from each
other. See Figure A.5 and section 6. “Workflows”)
Relative Importance: 4 – very important
Research Support: 2 systems, 6 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 49-50, 53); 1 system, 1 user in
study 2 (Müller (2016, p. 59).
Additional evidence: Chang et al. (2002).
Figure A.5: Violation of menu guidelines 5.1 and 5.2.
In order to build a route, the user first sets waypoints via
“Charts” (1) and then connects them to a route via “Nav
Info” (2). Not only are the two buttons located far from
each other (guideline 5.1) but also many taps are neces-
sary to navigate from one related screen to the other
(guideline 5.2), implying high memory load.
5.2 The structure of the menu should be comprehensible.
Comment: Categories and sub-categories of the
menu should be organized so that they are easily
found, and the users memory load is minimized
(for a negative example, see Figure A.4).
Relative Importance: 5 – compulsory
46 Gisela MÜLLER-PLATH et al. / International Journal of e-Navigation and Maritime Economy 10 (2018) 032–048
Research Support: 3 systems, 8 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 46, 49, 53, 58-59, 62, 66); 6 sys-
tems, 8 users / 3 experts in study 2 (Müller, 2016, p.
58-62).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitabil-
ity for learning); Nielsen (1995); Shneiderman &
Plaisant (2009).
5.3 The system should speak the users language.
Comment: For status displays, menu entries, and
chart labels, familiar terms and correct nautical lan-
guage should be used in order to avoid uncertainty
(e.g. “speed over ground (SOG)” instead of “veloci-
ty” in the status display, or “save route” instead of
“finish build” in route building; also, abbreviations
like RTE or RNG are not familiar to everybody).
Relative Importance: 5 compulsory
Research Support: 3 systems, 5 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 46, 59, 61, 62); 7 systems, 5 users /
3 experts in study 2 (Müller (2016, p. 58-63).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; self-
descriptiveness, conformity with user expectations);
Nielsen (1995).
5.4 The menu should not be cluttered by needless func-
tions or options.
Comment: Functions or options relating to data
sources not connected (e.g. radar, AIS) are unneces-
sary and should be left out or at least greyed out in
order to relieve the users working memory.
Relative Importance: 2 – moderately important
Research Support: 1 system, 1 expert in study 1
(Jung (2016, p. 59).
Additional evidence: Shneiderman & Plaisant
(2009).
6. Workflows
6.1 The software needs to be designed so that frequent
workflows are carried out efficiently.
Comment: Instead of functions, frequently used
workflows should be designed. They should require
as few steps as possible and end with the presenta-
tion of the changed or requested information. Fre-
quently used workflows are
Setting a waypoint (WP)
Deleting a WP
Building a route
Inserting a WP into a route
Starting track recording
Displaying actual position
Displaying actual course
Displaying course between two subsequent WPs
Displaying change of course at a WP
Skipping a WP
Displaying bearing and distance to any point on
the chart
Relative Importance: 5 – compulsory
Research Support: 3 systems, 9 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 40-43, 49, 72-73; 3 systems, 5 users
/ 3 experts in study 2 (Müller (2016, p. 57-58, 60, 62,
64).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008, suitabil-
ity for the task).
6.2 The first interaction of each workflow should be eas-
ily accessible.
Comment: The first interaction of the sequence of
steps of each workflow needs to be placed visibly
and denoted meaningfully in order to optimize ac-
cessibility.
Relative Importance: 4 – very important
Research Support: 3 systems, 8 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 46, 49, 53, 58, 62, 66).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008, con-
formity with user expectations, self-descriptiveness,
suitability for learning).
6.3 The system should offer an undo-function.
Comment: The user should have the opportunity to
easily undo the last interaction, e.g. an erroneous
waypoint deletion.
Relative Importance: 1 – cosmetic
Research Support: 2 systems, 2 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 47, 54).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008, error tol-
erance).
7. Transparency
7.1 The user should always be kept informed about the
Gisela MÜLLER-PLATH et al. / International Journal of e-Navigation and Maritime Economy 10 (2018) 032–048 47
accuracy of the current GPS position of the boat.
Comment: In order to prevent over-reliance on
technology, the user should not only see the vessel’s
location on the chart but also its accuracy according
to the GPS status. This could be implemented as
digits (Figure A.2 (3)) or preferably as a circle
around the boat icon, as in some applications for
navigation on land: The smaller the circle, the more
certain the app is about your location. (Figure A.6).
Relative Importance: 5 – compulsory
Research Support: 2 systems, 2 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 58, 62); 1 system, 2 users in study 2
(Müller, 2016, p. 57).
Additional evidence: Nielsen (1995).
Figure A.6: Menu guideline 7.1., idea from an applica-
tion for land navigation. The user is informed about
GPS position accuracy by the radius of the blue circle
around the blue dot, indicating that the current position is
somewhere inside the circle.
7.2 The user should be informed about system loading
times.
Comment: When starting the system and in case of a
delay, the user should be informed that the system is
still working, e.g. by a progress bar.
Relative Importance: 2 – moderately important
Research Support: 1 system, 1 expert in study 1
(Jung, 2016, p. 53).
Additional evidence: Nielsen (1995), Shneiderman
& Plaisant (2009).
7.3 The user should be informed about procedures the
system is carrying out automatically.
Comment: When the system carries out a procedure
without interacting with the user, e.g. automatically
saving a route built by the user, the user is uncertain
about this unless informed.
Relative Importance: 3 –important
Research Support: 2 systems, 5 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 47, 51); 4 systems, 7 users in study
2 (Müller, 2016, p. 57-60).
7.4 The user must be informed about any changes in the
status of the system.
Comment: If the system loses connectivity with a
data source, e.g. the GPS, or a data source does not
transmit properly, e.g. the echo sounder, it is safety-
critical for the user to know that the displayed data is
no longer up-to-date.
Relative Importance: 5 –compulsory
Research Support: 1 system, 1 user in study 1 (l-
ler, 2016, p. 57).
8. Customization
8.1 The depth at which the shallow water contour and
colour is displayed should be configurable according to
the draught of the individual vessel.
Relative Importance: 3 important
Research Support: 1 systems, 1 expert in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 61).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitabil-
ity for individualization).
8.2 Alarm: Alarm sounds should be configurable ac-
cording to the user’s preferences.
Comment: Some users perceive the waypoint arrival
alarm as unpleasant or wish to assign different alarm
sounds to different functions.
Relative Importance: 3 important
Research Support: 2 systems, 2 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 60, 62-63).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitabil-
ity for individualization).
8.3 Waypoint arrival distance: The distance that triggers
the waypoint arrival alarm should be configurable indi-
vidually and separately for different waypoints.
Comment: The default waypoint arrival radius is too
large for narrow fairways, and too small for open
48 Gisela MÜLLER-PLATH et al. / International Journal of e-Navigation and Maritime Economy 10 (2018) 032–048
waters, in particular when beating to windward.
Relative Importance: 3 important
Research Support: 2 systems, 2 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 63, 67); 1 system, 1 expert in study
2 (Müller, 2016, p. 63).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitabil-
ity for individualization).
8.4 Setting waypoints: Besides setting waypoints direct-
ly on the chart, the system must also allow them to be
entered as lat/lon coordinates.
Comment: Precise waypoints can only be set by
lat/lon coordinates. Moreover, only this input meth-
od allows transferring waypoints from paper charts
or nautical books.
Relative Importance: 5 – important
Research Support: 3 systems, 5 users in study 2
(Müller, 2016, p. 57, 60-61).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitabil-
ity for the task).
8.5 Snapping (i.e. selecting a touchscreen object by tap-
ping in its proximity): A snapping function for object
selection should be available as an option that can be
activated or de-activated.
Comment: Snapping is perceived as useful by some
users but as inconvenient by others.
Relative Importance: 3 important
Research Support: 2 systems, 2 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 47, 50).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitabil-
ity for individualization).
8.6 Easy mode: In a system with a wide range of func-
tions, the user should be able to choose between an ex-
pert and easy mode for operating the device.
Comment: Some users favour an easy mode with a
reduced scope of functions, whereas others prefer
the full functional range. Even superior, particularly
for charter boats, might be a standardized mode (s-
mode) as discussed for commercial ship ECDIS.
Relative Importance: 2 moderately important
Research Support: 3 systems, 1 user / 3 experts in
study 2 (Müller (2016, p. 57, 63).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitabil-
ity for individualization, suitability for learning).
9. User support
9.1 There should be an interactive tutorial for instructing
first-time users.
Comment: With an interactive tutorial, novice users
are introduced to the structure of the menu and how
to operate the device, including building an example
route. The user should be able to repeat or skip the
tutorial.
Relative Importance: 3 important
Research Support: 1 system, 1 expert in study 1
(Jung, 2016, p. 62); 1 system, 1 user in study 2
(Müller, 2016, p. 59).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitability for
learning).
9.2 An easily accessible help function should be imple-
mented in the system.
Comment: Some users prefer an integrated help
function.
Relative Importance: 2 moderately important
Research Support: 2 systems, 2 experts in study 1
(Jung, 2016, pp. 55, 62); 2 systems, 3 users / 3 ex-
perts in study 2 (ller, 2016, p. 60, 62).
Additional evidence: ISO 9241-110 (2008; suitabil-
ity for learning).
... p. ex. ver o rumo e a distância de uma rota)(Müller-Plath et al., 2018). Segundo alguns estudos(Mills, 2005;Müller-Plath et al., 2018) a maioria das interações entre o utilizador e os sistemas de navegação ocorrem em ecrãs, com botões ou tácteis. ...
... ver o rumo e a distância de uma rota)(Müller-Plath et al., 2018). Segundo alguns estudos(Mills, 2005;Müller-Plath et al., 2018) a maioria das interações entre o utilizador e os sistemas de navegação ocorrem em ecrãs, com botões ou tácteis. As interfaces destes equipamentos encontram-se num ambiente marítimo, que por vezes a interação entre o utilizador e os ecrãs é afetada por causa do estado (molhado ou húmido) dos dedos dos utilizadores(Mills, 2005;Müller-Plath et al., 2018). ...
... Segundo alguns estudos(Mills, 2005;Müller-Plath et al., 2018) a maioria das interações entre o utilizador e os sistemas de navegação ocorrem em ecrãs, com botões ou tácteis. As interfaces destes equipamentos encontram-se num ambiente marítimo, que por vezes a interação entre o utilizador e os ecrãs é afetada por causa do estado (molhado ou húmido) dos dedos dos utilizadores(Mills, 2005;Müller-Plath et al., 2018). Algumas destas interfaces apresentam mapas de apoio à navegação(Hyla et al., 2015;Kazimierski et al., 2019;Nguyen et al., 2019), sendo que o desenho das interfaces destes sistemas devem tem em conta o ambiente de utilização(Griffin et al., 2017). ...
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