HCD however, can be the design contribution to complex systems, in the sense that it treats the human part of these systems. It can observe the “social, regulatory, and economic pressures upon the people involved”. Still, there are four current limitations:
- Design is a tool and should work collaboratively with others
- Designers lack experience and methods in understanding inter-relationships (they are great with components, though). According to the authors, this is where designers must develop new ways of dealing with complex systems.
- The lack of consideration for human psychology and human factors in these complex systems
- “Designers tend to focus upon the front of the development cycle, developing a clearly defined end-result, leaving implementation to others. With complex systems and services, as we discuss later in this paper, this is no longer a viable solution: designers must continue through the implementation stage.”
Although what has been discussed is how there are different perspectives looking and interpreting the same problems and how each intends to deal with them, the biggest, major problem lies in the implementation of large scale sociotechnical systems.
Even when all technical issues are solved – and I think all HMI professionals can identify with this – it is hard to implement the recommendations. The authors distinguish four properties as the source of most difficulties:
- System Design that Does Not Take into Account Human Psychology
- Human Cognition: The Human Tendency to Want Simple Answers, Decomposable Systems, and Straightforward Linear Causality
- Multiple Disciplines and Perspectives
- Mutually Incompatible Constraints
When some of these are combined (3 and 4, for example), compromises need to be made, and while some technical, social and cultural adjustments can be made, sometimes they can result in an absolute blockade of the resolution.
All in all, if designers don’t address these issues right at the beginning of the design stages, the implementation will very likely fail.