Identification of task demands and usability issues in police use of mobile computing terminals
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Crash reports from various states in the U.S. have shown high numbers of emergency vehicle crashes, especially in law enforcement situations. This study identified the perceived importance and frequency of police mobile computing terminal (MCT) tasks, quantified the demands of different tasks using a cognitive performance modeling methodology, identified usability violations of current MCT interface designs, and formulated design recommendations for an enhanced interface. Results revealed that "access call notes", "plate number check" and "find location on map" are the most important and frequently performed tasks for officers. "Reading plate information" was also found to be the most visually and cognitively demanding task-method. Usability principles of "using simple and natural dialog" and "minimizing user memory load" were violated by the current MCT interface design. The enhanced design showed potential for reducing cognitive demands and task completion time. Findings should be further validated using a driving simulation study.
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