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Toward A User-centered Design of A Weather Forecasting Decision-support Tool


Hazard Services is a software toolkit that integrates information management, hazard alerting, and communication functions into a single user interface. When complete, National Weather Service forecasters across the United States will use Hazard Services for operational issuance of weather and hydrologic alerts, making the system an instrumental part of the threat management process. As a new decision-support tool, incorporating an understanding of user requirements and behavior is an important part of building a system that is usable, allowing users to perform work-related tasks efficiently and effectively. This paper discusses the Hazard Services system and findings from a usability evaluation with a sample of end users. Usability evaluations are frequently used to support software and website development and can provide feedback on a system’s efficiency of use, effectiveness, and learnability. In the present study, a user-testing evaluation assessed task performance in terms of error rates, error types, response time, and subjective feedback from a questionnaire. A series of design recommendations was developed based on the evaluation’s findings. The recommendations not only further the design of Hazard Services, but they may also inform the designs of other decision-support tools used in weather and hydrologic forecasting. Incorporating usability evaluation into the iterative design of decision-support tools, such as Hazard Services, can improve system efficiency, effectiveness, and user experience.

Article / Publication Data
Available Metadata
Accepted On
August 05, 2016
Fiscal Year
Peer Reviewed
Publication Name
Bulletin of The American Meteorological Society
Published On
February 01, 2017
Publisher Name
American Meteorological Society
Print Volume
Print Number
Page Range
Submitted On
July 20, 2016


Authors who have authored or contributed to this publication.

  • Elizabeth M. Argyle - lead Other noaa
  • Tracy L. Hansen - fourth Gsl
    Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder
    NOAA/Global Systems Laboratory
  • Kevin L. Manross - fifth Gsl
    Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Colorado State University
    NOAA/Global Systems Laboratory