Whatever amazing innovations ship designers might come up with, in the end it is seafarers who will have to take those ships to sea and make the designs work. So among all the complex and often contradictory criteria which are in the forefront of designers’ minds as they plan the dimensions, draught, capacity and speed of a ship, there should be an over-riding requirement for the design to be ‘human centred’.
Issue 24 of the International Maritime Human Element Bulletin Alert! points out that both naval architects and system designers need to keep in touch with those who work and live aboard ships. In this way they can properly determine whether what they produce is indeed usable by those who will have to use it. The human being needs to be properly integrated in the design process, which will require designers to consult with seafarers, obtain adequate feedback to learn lessons from previous designs and to use this information constructively to produce better ships and equipment.