The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are a government funded organisation. They help to ensure that:
Your task is to design a series of interactive web pages that will provide readers with relevant information about accident frequencies in the United Kingdom.
As part of their activities, the HSE publish a range of accident statistics. These can be accessed on-line from:
To minimise network delays, a copy of this information has been cached locally on:
The HSE's accident statistics provide a broad range of information about accident frequencies. For example, they provide information about accident rates in particular industries. Within an industry, they record the frequencies of particular types of accidents (eg, burns or crush injuries). The importance of this data cannot be underemphasised. It is intended to alert employers and regulators to the dangers that threaten everybody every day of their lives.
Hint: in order to read these documents you will need to use Adobe Acrobat. It should already be installed on your computer and should launch automatically when you use Netscape. If you have problems then click on the link below to obtain a free copy:
The following table provides an example of the information provided by the HSE. This excerpt comes from the fact sheet on injuries to employees within the office-based industry reported to local authorities from 1991-1997:
|Kind of Accident||1991/2||1992/3||1993/4||1994/5||1995/6||1996/7||Total|
|Contact with moving machinery or material being maintained||6||4||3||4||4||8||29|
|Struck by moving inc. flying/falling object||13||9||23||15||11||60||131|
|Struck by moving vehicle||4||4||6||6||2||9||31|
|Strike against something fixed or stationary||4||3||6||6||11||27||57|
|Injured whilst handling, lifting or carrying||8||7||15||10||9||29||78|
|Slip, trip or fall on same level||137||124||121||123||123||184||812|
|Fall from a height||71||57||51||52||40||81||352|
|Drowning or asphyxiation||_||_||1||_||_||2||3|
|Exposure to or contact with a harmful substance||11||10||5||6||3||4||39|
|Exposure to an explosion||_||1||_||1||_||3||5|
|Contact with electricity or an electrical charge||1||3||3||2||2||6||17|
|Injured by an animal||_||1||1||_||_||2||4|
|Acts of violence||_||_||_||_||_||15||15|
|Other kinds of accidents||3||2||2||6||_||3||16|
This format is appropriate because it provides readers with the specific data for categories of accidents within the UK. There are a number of problems, however. Firstly, it can be difficult to gain an overview of the more detailed information that is presented in the statistical reports. Secondly, it can be difficult to identify trend information where several different types of accidents may all be increasing, or decreasing, in frequency. Similarly, it may be difficult to determine whether particular types of accidents are increasing or decreasing against a general trend in the total number of accidents across all categories. Thirdly, these tables may be difficult for some members of the general public to understand. This is important because a deeper understanding of the relative frequency of particular accidents might help people to alter their behaviour appropriately. There are a range of graphs and charts for the HSE statistics on:
These already solve many of the visualisation problems mentioned above but they could be made more interactive through the use of Java and AWT. For example, animations might be used to show how accident frequencies have altered year by year. Hypertext links might be used to connect statistical information with the textual commentaries that accompany the statistics. Your task is to design a set of web pages that will provide a particular group of users with graphical overviews and summary information about some of the accident data that is provided by the HSE. These pages can be developed in any way that you think supports the organisation's mission statement in section A.
The second stage of the project involves the development of initial designs and presentation formats. These should be as innovative as possible whilst still supporting the tasks that were identified in the previous stage of the project. It is possible to think of many different 2D and 3D visualisations. These include simple bar charts or graphs to show trend information. They also include more creative solutions. A barchart might be superimposed on a map to illustrate the number of accidents occuring in particular regions. A picture of a human body might be used to illustrate the number of injuries to particular limbs. One recent suggestion was that those limbs might be scaled to reflect the number of injuries to that part of the body; the head might appear twice as large as an arm if that part of the body sustained twice as many injuries. Clearly, the development of a suitable prototype requires design skills, creativity and a careful regard for the users' tasks. You may choose to develop a number of pencil and paper prototypes to test out your ideas. These should be subjected to some formative evaluation (see below). To help you, Ben Shneiderman's research group at the University of Maryland maintains a website that contains a vast range of potential visualisations on:
The third stage involves implementation. It is VERY important that your web pages are easy to maintain. In particular, it should be possible to update the visualisations with minimal effort as each year's statistics are compiled. (Hint: see Judy Bishop's use of the PARAM facility of applets in Java Gently, Addison Wesley, 2nd Edition, 1998, pages 348-349. Alternatively, you may choose to read in the data from a specially formatted file). Your solution must make use of AWT (see section A).
Finally, summative and formative evaluation must be conducted to test out whether your ideas. You must use a recognised technique described in the lecture notes and you must document your results in the final report.
This exercise is degree assessed. It contributes 30% to the total marks associated with this course. The body of the report should not exceed twenty A4 pages. The report must be printed out and must be submitted in a secure binder (i.e., one that will keep the pages together and in the correct order). It must include:
The following marking scheme will be applied:
You may use any suitable programming mechanism to satisfy the following requirements. Suitable mechanisms include VRML, Java3D and Swing. The only caveat is that you must make use of AWT (1.0) or (1.1) at some point in your implementation.
This exercise provides you with a realistic design task. You are designing a real product for a real client that has the potential to be of practical benefit beyond the duration of your course. The accident statistics provided by the HSE help to ensure the safety of the general public in the UK and beyond. The visualisation and presentation of those statistics in an appropriate format is a challenging problem. However, if you come up with a suitable solution these is the possibility that the HSE will use your programs. This, in turn, will provide tangible benefits to society. It may also support your future career development.
You have a wide range of possible options and your task is to choose the best one that you can come up with. Please remember, however, that you have limited time and resources to complete your work. The marks will be based on the written submission. However, everyone will also be expected to present their solution during the final practical session of this course (Tuesday 16th March). An international panel of HCI experts will be asked to judge the best design solutions and prizes will be awarded to the winner and runners up.
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