Control Rooms in Safety Critical Contexts (CRiSCC): Design, Engineering and Evaluation Issues

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Bari, Italy,
Aug 30th 2021

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The workshop was held in a hybrid manner on Aug. 30th. We had 50% participants onsite in Bari and 50% remote attendance.

The workshop attendees are now revising their papers. The final reviewed versions will be included in the LNCS workshop volume to be published by the end of 2021. If you are interested, please contact one of the organizers.

This workshop is open to everyone who is interested in the aspects related to the design, the engineering, the evaluation, the deployment, the maintenance and the certification of control rooms.

We invite participants to present position papers describing real-life case studies that illustrate, if possible, how a new technology would enhance control room operations. They could also highlight the trade-offs between two or more properties of interactive systems such as user experience and dependability or usability and security. The way the new technology will be addressing some known or envisioned problem in a control should be presented in the contribution. We are also interested in methods, theories and tools for control rooms development as long as they address some user interface properties.

Important dates

Submission new deadline: May 16th

Notification to authors: May 30th

Camera ready: June 11th

Workshop: August 30th Full day

Workshop Organizers

Tentative Schedule for the Workshop

The workshop will be run in an hybrid mode i.e. with a group of participants attending remotely and another group onsite.

Time slot Description

09:00 – 09:15 Welcome + Introduction

09:15 – 09:45 Improving resilience by communicating predicted disruptions in control rooms + resilience property for control rooms

09:45 – 10:15 UX for Some and Usability for Others: Issues of Blending Multi-user and Multi-properties in Control Centers + UX and Usability

properties for control rooms

10:15 – 10:45 Towards Control Rooms as Human-Centered Pervasive Computing Environments + Pervasiveness property for control rooms

10:45 – 11:00 Coffee Break

11:00 – 11:30 Proving Display Conformance and Action Consistency: the Example of an Integrated Clinical Environment + Verification of

properties for control rooms

11:30 – 12:00 LstSim-Extended: Towards Monitoring Interaction and beyond in Web-Based Control Room Simulations + Evaluation of

properties in control rooms

12:00 – 12:30 A Generic Framework for Structuring Configuration Management for Socio-Technical System: Application to Control Rooms +

Maintenance for control rooms

12:30 – 12:45 Wrap-up Morning Session + preparation of work in the afternoon

12:45 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 15:30 Group Work (running in parallel remote participants and onsite attendees)

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee Break

16:00 – 17:00 Group Work cont. (running in parallel remote participants and onsite attendees)

17:00 – 18:00 Presentation (10 mn online work + 10 mn onsite work) + Discussion altogether + Identification of future activities + Wrap-up

Selected Papers for the Workshop

Some Specificities of Control Rooms

They allow monitoring and control of complex cyber-physical systems

Their operations are usually defined and regularly assessed by regulatory authorities

They are operated by trained professional users that are usually qualified by dedicated organizations

Their deployment requires the acquisition of a certification from external organizations

Operators have different levels of authority which grant different access to functions and data

Failures in the display and control system might have catastrophic consequences on people and goods

Operator errors might have catastrophic consequences on people and goods

They are operated in close worlds reducing security risks

They usually involve multiple operators who have to coordinate their actions to reach their goals


While Human Factors approaches [1] and User-Centered Design [19] have been used to design and evaluate control rooms for a long time, the interaction technologies they offer are usually several steps behind what can be found in other areas such as home entertainment or gaming. Control rooms are deployed in very different domains such as crisis management, emergency medical services, intensive care units, fire services, power supply, maritime navigation, or traffic management.

More recent work has been focussing on the use of new technologies in the context of control rooms exploiting new interaction techniques and new interaction technologies introduced in research contributions from the Human-Computer Interaction area. Speech was considered early as an input modality [6] while the issues raised by its deployment was questioned in [8]. Auditory information was used as an alerting system in addition to the traditional display of information in [11] even though studies have shown [9] that human brain filters out that information in case of high workload or stress. Tactile feedback was introduced in cockpits more recently [12] (but this feedback directly used in combination with information displays) while tangible interactions were introduced as a mean to bring interactions closer to the ones on physical knobs [7]. Multi-touch interactions have also been recently studied both in control rooms [15] and interactive cockpits [16] raising multiple issues. Ambient displays [20] [ref] and head mounted dispays [21] [ref] have been used to add a digital layer of information on top of control room elements to support situation awareness and attention in safetycritical environments. This introduction of nonstandard (at the time) modalities, led to multimodal interactions (both in terms of input and output) but they are still considered a challenge in 2016 [2] while the early work from Bolt in that domain was introduced more than 25 years earlier [3]. Multimodality as input was however introduced successfully in industrial control rooms [5] or military aircraft cockpits [14] while multimodal output was largely used for alerting flying crews [13].

Beyond interaction technologies, the centralised nature of control rooms was questioned [10] and mobile solutions were proposed to support control and monitoring activities on the move. However, the introduction of these technologies in critical systems raised immediately the issue of their dependability and their security as soon as the environment loses its closeness nature.

While state of the art in deployed control rooms is still characterized by stationary workstations with several smaller screens and large wall-mounted displays, introducing mobile and wearable devices as well as IoT solutions could enable more flexible and cooperative ways of working. However, turning control rooms into pervasive computing environments raises user-related challenges such as usability and user experience, system-related ones such as reliability and dependability and more global ones such as safety and security [17]. However, it is clear that control rooms must evolve and integrate advanced interaction technologies [18] so that operations can be improved.

This workshop promotes sharing of experiences in designing, implementing, and evaluating interactive systems in control rooms. We are especially interested by contributions presenting theories, methods, and approaches for considering them as pervasive computing environments and interdependencies between all the properties listed above. In this workshop we consider control rooms in their broader sense including (ship) bridges, cockpits, and operating rooms.

Target Audience

This workshop is open to everyone who is interested in the aspects related to the design, the engineering, the evaluation, the deployment, the maintenance and the certification of control rooms. We expect a high participation of IFIP working group 13.5 members. We invite participants to present position papers describing real-life case studies that illustrate, if possible, how a new technology would enhance control room operations. They could also highlight the trade-offs between two or more properties of interactive systems such as user experience and dependability or usability and security. The way the new technology will be addressing some known or envisioned problem in a control should be presented in the contribution. We are also interested in methods, theories and tools for control rooms development as long as they address some user interface properties.

Expected Outcome

Accepted position papers are published in INTERACT 2021 adjunct conference proceedings, in a Lecture Notes in Computer Science volume. We also expect to discuss at the workshop how to disseminate individual contributions to the community in a special issue in a journal or in an edited volume.

Structure of the Workshop

This workshop is planned for one full-day organized around presentation of position papers and working activities in small groups.

From the set of contributions, a subset of selected case studies is invited to be presented at the beginning of the workshop and is used to support the discussion that follows.

The morning sessions are dedicated to welcoming participants and presenting case studies. Participants are invited to comment the case studies and to report similar experiences.

The afternoon sessions are devoted to interactive sessions, where participants are engaged to work in small groups to propose solutions to the issues raised by the case studies presented in the morning. Proposed solutions will be compiled and compared. Based on the lessons learned, participants will draft an agenda of future work that can be accomplished.

Audience and Prerequisite

This workshop is open to researchers, practitioners, educators and students of all experience levels. No specific skills or knowledge are required beyond a background in one or several of the following research domains: HCI, safety, dependability or security.

Workshop Background

This workshop is organized by the IFIP Working Group 13.5 on Human Error, Resilience, Reliability, Safety and System Development.

Submitting to the workshop

Prospective participants should submit papers describing their experience, interest and views on the Design, Engineering and Evaluation of Control Rooms in Safety Critical Contexts.

Two type of submissions are considered both in Lecture Notes in Computer Science format:

    • short papers (typically 6-8+ pages)

    • long papers (12-15+ pages)

Reviewing and Selection

Each submission will be reviewed by at least three reviewers. Participants will selected on the basis of their submission’s quality and the diversity of their backgrounds, aiming thus at an interdisciplinary group.


[1] Paulo VR Carvalho, Isaac L. dos Santos, Jose Orlando Gomes, Marcos RS Borges, and Stephanie Guerlain. 2008. Human factors approach for evaluation and redesign of human--system interfaces of a nuclear power plant simulator. Displays 29, 3, 273—284

[2] Tomi Heimonen, Jaakko Hakulinen, Sumita Sharma, Markku Turunen, Lauri Lehtikunnas, and Hannu Paunonen. 2016. Multimodal interaction in process control rooms: are we there yet? In Proceedings of the 5th ACM International Symposium on Pervasive Displays (PerDis '16). ACM DL , 20–32.

[3] Richard A. Bolt. 1980. “Put-that-there”: Voice and gesture at the graphics interface. In Proceedings of the 7th annual conference on Computer graphics and interactive techniques (SIGGRAPH '80). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 262–270.

[4] Ronald L. Boring, Jacques Hugo, Christian M. Richard, and Donald D. Dudenhoeffer.. SIG: the role of human-computer interaction in next-generation control rooms. CHI '05 Extended Abst. on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '05). ACM DL, 2033–2034.

[5] Johan Fagerlönn, Kristin Hammarberg, Stefan Lindberg, Anna Sirkka, and Sofia Larsson. 2017. Designing a Multimodal Warning Display for an Industrial Control Room. 12th International Audio Mostly Conference on Augmented and Participatory Sound and Music Experiences (AM '17). ACM DL, Article 46, 1–5. DOI:

[6] C. Baber, D.M. Usher, R.B. Stammers, R.G. Taylor, Feedback requirements for automatic speech recognition in the process control room, International Journal of Man-Machine Studies, Volume 37, Issue 6, 1992, Pages 703-719, ISSN 0020-7373,

[7] Jens Müller, Tobias Schwarz, Simon Butscher, and Harald Reiterer. 2014. Back to tangibility: a post-WIMP perspective on control room design. International Working Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces (AVI '14). ACM, DL, 57--64.

[8] Kenneth Huber. 2005. Does speech technology have a place in the control room? In IEEE Power Engineering Society General Meeting, Vol. 3: 2702--2703

[9] Frédéric Dehais, Michael Causse, Vachon F, Régis N, Menant E, Tremblay S. Failure to detect critical auditory alerts in the cockpit: evidence for inattentional deafness. Hum Factors. 2014 Jun;56(4):631-44. doi: 10.1177/0018720813510735. PMID: 25029890.

[10] Oskar Juhlin and Alexandra Weilenmann. 2001. Decentralizing the control room: mobile work and institutional order. In Proceedings of the European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW'01). Kluwer Academic Publishers, Norwell, MA, USA, 379--397

[11] Patterson, R. D., and T. F. Mayfield. “Auditory Warning Sounds in the Work Environment [and Discussion].” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, vol. 327, no. 1241, 1990, pp. 485–492. JSTOR, Accessed 10 Mar. 2021.

[12] T. Nojima and K. Funabiki, "Cockpit display using tactile sensation," First Joint Eurohaptics Conference and Symposium on Haptic Interfaces for Virtual Environment and Teleoperator Systems. World Haptics Conference, Pisa, Italy, 2005, pp. 501-502, doi: 10.1109/WHC.2005.27.

[13] Selcon SJ, Taylor RM, Shadrake RA. Multi-Modal Cockpit Warnings: Pictures. Words. or Both? Proceedings of the Human Factors Society Annual Meeting. 1992;36(1):57-61.

[14] Rémi Bastide, David Navarre, Philippe Palanque, Amélie Schyn, and Pierre Dragicevic. 2004. A model-based approach for real-time embedded multimodal systems in military aircrafts. 6th int. conference on Multimodal interfaces (ICMI '04). ACM DL , 243–250.

[15] Elaf Selim and Frank Maurer. 2010. EGrid: supporting the control room operation of a utility company with multi-touch tables. In ACM International Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (ITS '10). ACM, , 289--290.

[16] Andy Cockburn, Carl Gutwin, Philippe Palanque, Yannick Deleris, Catherine Trask, Ashley Coveney, Marcus Yung, and Karon MacLean. 2017. Turbulent Touch: Touchscreen Input for Cockpit Flight Displays. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '17). ACM DL, 6742–6753.

[17] Philippe Palanque, Sandra Basnyat, Regina Bernhaupt, Ronald Boring, Chris Johnson, and Peter Johnson. 2007. Beyond usability for safety critical systems: how to be sure (safe, usable, reliable, and evolvable)? In CHI '07 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '07). ACM DL , 2133–2136.

[18] Roth, E., & O'Hara, J. (2002). Integrating digital and conventional human system interface technology: Lessons learned from a control room modernization program. NUREG/CR-6749). Washington, DC: US Nuclear Regulatory Commission

[19] Ulrich, T.A., Boring, R.L.: Example user centered design process for a digital control system in a nuclear power plant. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 57th Annual Meeting, pp. 1727–1731 (2013)

[20] Vanessa Cobus, Wilko Heuten, and Susanne Boll. 2017. Multimodal head-mounted display for multimodal alarms in intensive care units. In Proceedings of the 6th ACM International Symposium on Pervasive Displays (PerDis '17). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 26, 1–2. DOI:

[21] Tim Claudius Stratmann, Felix Kempa, and Susanne Boll. 2019. LAME: light-controlled attention guidance for multi-monitor envi-ronments. In Proceedings of the 8th ACM International Symposium on Pervasive Displays (PerDis '19). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 7, 1–5. DOI:

Workshop Organizers

Susanne Boll is a full professor for Media Informatics and Multimedia Systems at the University of Oldenburg and a member of the board of the OFFIS-Institute for Information Technology. Her research focus lies in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI). In her ongoing research, she is designing novel interaction technology for a respectful and beneficial cooperation of human and technology in a future automated world. She works on novel interaction methods for a safe cooperation and humans in safety-critical automated environments such as automated driving, health care and production. Her scientific results have been published in top venues in her field such as ACM CHI, MobileHCI, AutomotiveUI, as well as internationally recognized journals. Prof. Boll was named a Fellow of the German Informatics Society in October 2020. She was named a Distinguished Member of the ACM in 2019 and is an elected member of acatech, The German National Academy of Science and Engineering.

Chris Johnson is Professor and Pro Vice Chancellor of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast. Over the last 20+ years, he has authored more than 200 peer reviewed publications, including one of the first textbooks on Accident and Incident Reporting. He has held fellowships from NASA, the US Air Force and Navy. He is a Scientific Advisor to the EC SESAR JU on the future of air traffic management and helped author guidelines on incident reporting for EUROCONTROL and for the European Railway Agency. He also helped the UK Department for Transport to develop the national cyber security strategy for aviation. In 2021, he is one of some fifteen expert witnesses retained to support the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire.

Kristof Van Laerhoven is Professor in Ubiquitous Computing at the University of Siegen, Germany. His research interests span the areas of wearable and distributed sensing systems that focus on machine learning challenges, such as recognising what human users are doing, what they are focusing on, and how stressed they are. He is wearable department co-editor at IEEE Pervasive, is co-editor of Springer Adaptive Environments, associate editor for ACM IMWUT, and was general co-chair for ACM UbiComp/ISWC in 2020. More information can be found on

Tilo Mentler is a professor of Human Computer Interaction and User Experience at Trier University of Applied Sciences. His research is focused on human-centered design in safety-critical contexts (e.g. mobile devices and mixed reality in healthcare, novel approaches to critical infrastructure). Currently, he works on control rooms as pervasive computing environments and examines the role of user experience in safety-critical settings. Prof. Mentler is chair of the special interest group "Usable Safety & Security" within the German Informatics Society (GI), member of the IFIP Advisory Board of GI and has been the GI representative in the IFIP Domain Committee on IT in Disaster Risk Reduction.

Philippe Palanque is Professor in Computer Science at University of Toulouse 3, where he leads the Interactive Critical Systems research group. Since the late 1980s he has been working on the development and application of formal description techniques for interactive systems. He has worked on research projects at the Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) for more than 10 years and on software architectures and user interface modeling for interactive cockpits in large civil aircraft (funded by Airbus). The main driver of Philippe’s research over the last 20 years has been to address in an even way usability, safety and dependability in order to build trustable safety-critical interactive systems. As for conferences he is TPC co-chair of EICS 2021 and is a member of the ACM CHI steering committee. He is a member of CHI academy, the chair of the IFIP TC 13 committee on Human-Computer Interaction, and secretary of IFIP WG 13.5.


[Bari, Italy]

[Currently: physical presentation and participation]

If circumstances require it, we intend to switch to a completely digital format that will be run online. We will continuously adapt to any decision regarding the conference format by the INTERACT 2021 organizers A video conferencing system will be used if we need to move to virtual