ITcon Vol. 16, pg. 529-556, http://www.itcon.org/2011/31

Cognitive task analysis of superintendent’s work: Case study and critique of supporting information technologies

revised:December 2010
published:March 2011
editor(s):Turk Z.
authors:William J. O’Brien, Associate Professor
Dept. of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Texas, USA
wjob@mail.utexas.edu

Michael J. Hurley

Fernando A. Mondragon Solis, Graduate Research Assistant
Dept. of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Texas, USA
fernando.mondragon@mail.utexas.edu

Thuy Nguyen, Graduate Research Assistant
Dept. of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Texas, USA
thuyttnguyen@mail.utexas.edu
summary:Construction superintendents have a complex job that requires comprehensive information about the site and the work to be done. To enhance their performance, the supporting tools should be able to reduce the cognitive demand and help provide information in an effective and logical way. Existing tools seem to have failed to achieve this goal. They either do not help the superintendent do his job more efficiently, or increase the cognitive demand he/she has to meet due to the hassle associated with the unfriendliness and ineffectiveness of information technologies. Furthermore, these tools are not integrated in a meaningful conceptual framework. This paper applies cognitive task analysis (CTA) and artefact-based analysis to understand the work of construction superintendents as well as critique existing information technology (IT) tools to support superintendents’ work. These are shown to be a useful methods for documenting the information requirements and cognitive needs of complex tasks like site planning. As such, they also provide a useful method to highlight inadequacies of existing computing tools as well as guide development of improved tools. Both specific critiques and recommendations are made to improve future design of tools supporting the job of superintendents.
keywords:Human-computer interaction (HCI), cognitive task analysis (CTA), superintendent, artefact-based analysis.
full text: (PDF file, 0.339 MB)
citation:O’'Brien W J, Hurley M J, Solis F A M, Nguyen T (2011). Cognitive task analysis of superintendent’s work: Case study and critique of supporting information technologies, ITcon Vol. 16, pg. 529-556, http://www.itcon.org/2011/31