Designing documents for train operators
This paper addresses the issue of redesigning a train list. The train list is a paper document of few pages that provides train operators of the Italian railway company with basic information about the features of the railway line they are moving along, the means of traction and engine characteristics.
Methodologies borrowed from the fields of document design and human–computer interaction were applied to the analysis, redesign, and evaluation of a new train list following a first prototype developed by the railway company.
In all phases (analysis, redesign, evaluation) the study was guided by the theoretical framework of cultural-historical psychology, according to which artifacts historically shaped by human practice always mediate human cognition. The results of the evaluation provide empirical evidence to support the added value of combining document design techniques with the heuristic role of the historical analysis of an artifact, especially in a safety-critical context, so as to properly improve tools and instruments used in human activity and thus reduce the risk of breakdowns.