Human centred design for collaborative systems supporting 4Rs (Reduction, Readiness, Response and Recovery)


Responding to natural or man-made disasters, in a timely and effective manner, can reduce deaths and injuries, contain or prevent secondary disasters, and reduce the resulting economic losses and social disruption. Throughout the last few decades, agencies managing disasters adopted technology based systems to enhance the performance of their operations. However, trust towards technology based systems to manage disasters remain low. The primary concern with regard to existing disaster management systems is not a lack of information, but of finding what is really needed and when it is needed but more importantly how and in which form this information should be presented or disseminate to the end-user.  In order to design and develop appropriate and usable systems for all four phases of disaster management there is a strong need for correlation between the accuracy, timeliness, and reliability of the information available to the decision makers, and the level of integration of Situation Awareness (SA) into all phases of emergency management. Poor SA often led to human error and inferior decision making.  Inadequate ability to provide required level of SA for the end-users engage in different phases of an emergency is still considered to be the primary challenge faced in the design and development project life cycle of disaster/emergency management systems. This phenomenon is repeatedly reiterated in the aftermath reports of most of the recent disasters.

This is where the approach of Human Centred Design could help to make systems usable and useful by focusing on the users, their needs and requirements, and by applying human factors/ergonomics, usability knowledge, and techniques. This approach enhances effectiveness and efficiency, improves human well-being, user satisfaction, accessibility and sustainability; and counteracts possible adverse effects of use, safety and performance.


The Co- chairs of this track invite academics, researchers and professionals to share innovative research, practice and experience showcasing user centred design driven design, development and implementation of systems supporting management of crisis /disaster /emergency management. In particular, Co-chairs of the track encourage submissions that address needs and issues on: user acceptance, trust and experience, usability, human computer interaction, situation awareness, relevant for all four phases of the disaster management cycle; readiness, reduction, response and recovery.


  • User experience of disaster information systems
  • Information Systems prototype/research
  • Exercise scenarios
  • User Acceptance
  • Usability
  • Sharing of Situational Awareness to enhance the common operating picture


Raj Prasanna - Coordinating Track Co-Chair
Massey University, New Zealand

Lili Yang
Loughborough University, UK

Deborah Bunker
University of Sydney, Australia

Tony Sleigh
University of Sydney, Australia

Raj Prasanna

Raj Prasanna

Raj Prasanna is an expert in Technology and Systems for supporting Emergency Management. Raj is also a qualified chartered engineer in Information Technology. Raj has been a fulltime academic and a researcher since 2004 and obtained his PhD from Loughborough University in Information Systems supporting Emergency Response. Raj’s current research interests include application of Internet of Things (IoT) for Disaster Management, Human Computer Interaction supporting Emergencies and Cognitive Requirements Capturing Techniques for Emergencies. Since 2011 Raj is attached to the Joint Centre for Disaster Research, Massey University. He teaches Emergency Management and Incident Command Systems and coordinates Emergency Management Program at Massey. He is also sits in numerous national and international technology related working groups and advisory boards. Prior to his academic career, Raj worked in the industry for nearly nine years in different managerial and technical job roles, including a top managerial position in the Sri Lankan office of one of the fortune five hundred manufacturing companies. Raj is also a professional consultant in many IS/IT related projects in top business ventures in Asia and Europe.

Lili Yang

Prof. Dr Lili Yang is a Reader in the School of Business and Economics at Loughborough University, UK. She has conducted a significant amount of research both independently and working in team. As the principal investigator she has led 12 projects and carried out 4 projects as co-investigator. The total budget has reached to over £4 million. Her recent publications appear in the top journals such as Information Systems Research, European Journal of Operational Research, Technological Forecasting and Social Changes, to be named. She was invited by the UK Cabinet Office and gave a presentation to their staff in London. She was interviewed and broadcast by BBC Radio Leicester for her excellent research outcomes. Her research has generated impact to the research community in the whole world.

Recently, she has been nominated and shortlisted for the 2017 Times Higher Education Awards which is known as Oscars of Higher Education, and a finalist of the UK IT Industry Awards 2017.